The advent of the internet has made it so much easier for consumers to advocate for their wants and needs. Sites like Care2 and Take Part allow anyone to create a petition that can then be shared across the internet. Many of these petitions go viral thanks to social media.

These petitions are starting to drive big change with big business. While many of them tried to ignore the requests early on, mounting pressure for big business to bend to the will of the people is driving real change across every industry.

Here are 5 examples of big corporations that are adapting to consumer demand.

1. McDonald’s vows to eliminate use of hormones in milk and antibiotics in chicken

After the ongoing consumer pressure from the “Moms Not Lovin’ It” campaign, McDonald’s is publicly declaring its intentions to adapt. The fast-food giant declared that it will buy and sell only chicken raised without antibiotics and milk from cows not treated with the artificial growth hormone rBST. These declarations only apply to U.S. restaurant locations. This change also forced McDonald’s supplier Tyson to announce the elimination of human antibiotics in poultry. In addition, McDonald’s announced a plan to eliminate deforestation from its supply chain by identifying more sustainable sources of coffee, beef, poultry, palm oil and packaging.

2. Breyers pledges to stop using milk from cows treated with rBST

The move away from rBST continues with ice cream manufacturer Breyers. A household name, Breyers has also agreed to stop using milk from cows treated with rBST. In addition, they recently introduced a “natural” line eliminating many additives and using Rainforest Alliance certified vanilla beans.

3. Lowe’s plans to stop selling bee-killing neonicotinoid pesticides to save the bees

Neonicotinoid pesticides have been making big news this year in the growing awareness of the severity of colony collapse disorder. Friends of the Earth spent years pressuring Lowe’s to stop selling plants treated with neonicotinoids to help save the bees. Lowe’s finally bowed to the pressure and agreed to eliminate the use and sale of neonicotinoids.

Adidas factory outlet exterior
Image courtesy of Felix Meyer.

4. Adidas announces plan to convert ocean plastic waste into sportswear

The Great Garbage Patch is a huge thorn in the side of environmental advocates. Adidas has announced plans to partner with Parley for the Oceans, an ocean advocacy group, to develop materials made from ocean plastic waste to use in its product lines. The mega sportswear brands also announced it will eliminate the use of plastic bags in its 2,900 worldwide retail store locations.

5. Several big brands make commitment to California water conservation

California and other areas of the country are experiencing an unprecedented drought. To help support California’s water conversations plans, several big corporations have signed onto a commitment to conserve water from nonprofit Ceres. They have made a commitment to reaching out to policymakers, customers, employees and other companies to drive improvement in water management and enhance water efficiency. Some of the brands include Coca-Cola Company, Levi Strauss & Co., General Mills, Symantec, KB Home, Gap Inc., Driscoll’s and more. Levi’s already announced it has saved 1 billion liters of water since 2011 thanks to conservation measures they’ve taken in coordination with cotton growers. These measures have driven less water-intensive growing techniques and helped to educate people about how costly frequent clothes laundering can be.

These are just 5 examples of big business meeting consumer demand more environmentally and health conscious products and services. For more consumer wins, read about how the Food Babe is driving change in the food industry.

What company are you most excited to see to make changes?

Feature image courtesy of William Cho

By Chrystal Johnson

Chrystal Johnson, publisher of Happy Mothering, founder of Green Moms Media and essential oil fanatic, is a mother of two sweet girls who believes in living a simple, natural lifestyle. A former corporate marketing communication manager, Chrystal spends her time researching green and eco-friendly alternatives to improve her family's life.