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Family owned, Sustainability & Values -- When is big big enough?

Sep 13, 2017

Joerg Mueller

In the light of the recent Pukka takeover by Unilever, I want to share some thoughts as a teablender and tea business owner: Per se I am not averse to selling a company -- but it does matter to whom. I would argue that the structure and interests in large corporations, where profit maximisation is priority will not enhance or further ethical behaviour or sustainability. Currently it is on everyone's agenda because it sells. But statements by Unilever such as "...we have committed to sourcing 100% of our agricultural raw materials sustainably by 2020. Whether the crops we use are conventional or genetically modified..."

How can GMO's or the methods used (monopolisation, terminator seeds, pesticide use, reduction in biodiversity, etc) be called sustainable? The word Sustainable is a polarity to GMO and how they are used. I would argue consumers have to make their own choices, but this is difficult in a world of information overload -- especially since big companies do have the budgets that outstrip our small family business resources... I guess all we can do is contribute in our own way as best as we can. And I do believe that the intent or motivation behind why something is done is crucial -- which is very different when you do something out of conviction or because your motivation is gain... The first one is sustainable the second one is not...