DEBATE: Ethical Fast Food?
I have started posting some small tidbits over at Hippyshopper but fear not, for they will all make it onto the City Hippy pages too. I recently posted this review of Pret the sandwich shop.
Working in any city means that food choices are limited. Other than bringing in a mung bean salad every day, what’s a City Hippy to do? Turns out that Pret a Manger offer a healthier and hippier choice. Why: you can get wholemeal bread, light or even no mayo, less plastic/more card packaging, wooden spoons, organic milk, fairtrade coffee and sandwiches made in the stores with fresh, GM-free ingredients delivered daily. They even give all leftovers to charity. I don't know why I haven't been to Pret for ages but if the mung bean salad doesn't survive the journey then Pret is where I will be from now on. The perfect answer to healthy food on the move.A few interesting comments followed along a general theme of: How can you advocate supporting a company a third owned by MacDonalds?
Of course, not for one moment, do I advocate supporting MacDonalds via MacDonalds but the question is:
Is an ethical company still an ethical company when it is owned, in part or whole, by an "unethical" company?On the one hand Pret makes profit in quite a sustainable way. To be applauded. On the other hand those profits feedback to MacDonalds who then in turn might use that profit to fund behaviour I would not support. Not good!
Is it better that MacDonalds fail to make profit from an ethical (ish) investment? Perhaps you advocate a boycott of Pret for selling a stake to MacDonalds?
Would it make for a more ethical world if I used a non-organic, non-sustainable, non-chain owned, unethical local sandwich shop rather than an ethical (ish) sandwich shop owned by MacDonalds?
I don't think so. I think business can be a force for good. I can think of many examples where that is true. But this it tricky grey area stuff.
At the end of the debate though I stand on the side of using Pret if there is not a more ethical option on the basis that at least it makes MacDonalds see that the triple bottom line can work.
UPDATE: Just wanted to let you know that fellow green blogger Organic Researcher has posted on this debate and that you should check his contribution (and my commented reply) out and add your own thoughts.
Whilst I do not really agree with his take on the situation I understand that some/many will and I totally value his contribution...namaste! Al