Extreme Demands—Extraordinary Products: What’s In It for Midwestern Agriculture?
Demands on corporations to focus their objectives on more than the financial bottom line have never been as forceful and effective as they are now. These demands come from groups such as PETA and Greenpeace, which have a long and confrontational history, as well as more mainstream groups, such as the trustees of California’s Public Employee Retirement Program (CalPERS). What the groups have in common is their belief that they can force corporations to adopt business practices that further their particular social agendas. Currently, PETA is pressuring Burger King to force its suppliers to adopt animal welfare standards. PETA praised McDonald’s after it adopted minimum- welfare standards for the hens that produce McDonald’s eggs. Greenpeace continues to pressure countries and corporations on a range of issues, and the group has extended its target to food companies that use ingredients derived from genetically modified crops. CalPERS has pressured corporations in which it is a major shareholder to adopt guidelines that guard against use of child labor and that enhance environmental quality.