ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Social Justice and the Price Club: Great Things You Didn’t Know About Costco

Updated on October 8, 2014

Costco: A Price Club with a Conscience


Fair Wages, Happy Workers

Industrial-organizational psychologists have been telling us for decades that happy workers who feel secure in their positions do better work. A quick glance at the job market in corporate America makes it clear that few employers have paid attention. Costco, however, is a price club of a different color. Recent surveys indicate that employees at the nationwide chain are happier on average than workers at many other companies, including some of the top players in Silicon Valley. According to CEO Craig Jelinek, in 2013, Costco paid a “starting hourly wage of $11.50 in all states where we do business.” Additionally, at a time when retailers like Walmart, Target and Trader Joe’s are decreasing employee benefits, Bloomberg Businessweek reports that 88 percent of Costco employees have company-sponsored healthcare coverage.

These are some great reasons to shop at Costco. As a customer myself, I enjoy the cheery staff and great service I get at my local store. People I know who shop at both Costco and their primary competitor, Sam’s Club, have frequently mentioned that Costco consistently provides better service with comparable pricing. While fair treatment of employees is an important aspect of any company, Costco goes even farther in the line of social justice to help concerned citizens of our planet do good when shopping.

Locally Grown Produce


Local Goods and Produce

During a recent trip to Costco, I was surprised to learn that Costco carries locally grown and produced merchandise. As I turned my cart down an aisle in the grocery section, a cheerful man offered me a sample of chunky applesauce. It was delicious! As I savored the morsels of fruit, he mentioned that the applesauce was from a local orchard. I had no idea that Costco purchased local foodstuffs, but I soon became aware that this is one of the many socially responsible activities in which the company participates. No, customers can’t always get the exact same products every time we visit Costco, but we can get local items in season.

Million Bowls Fights Hunger with Costco


Feeding America at Costco

On another recent shopping trip, I was browsing the aisles to find some gluten-free cereal for my family. There on the shelves sat a display of Abundance Cherry Almond Crunch from MOM Brands. Unfortunately, I couldn’t purchase the cereal because it includes wheat, but I was happy to notice the advertisement for the company’s Million Bowls® program. This program provides cereal to Americans in need through affiliate food banks in several states. Naturally, Costco’s competitors sell MOM Brands, and consumers can purchase products that support the Million Bowls® program elsewhere, but it struck me that products like this solidly support the culture of social justice at Costco.

Further perusal of shelves in the grocery section of Costco indicates that they regularly stock products that promote global conservation efforts and social justice. When purchasing coffee in bulk, customers can choose from several fair-trade options. Although Costco does care a variety of chocolate products, careful consumers can get fair-trade cocoa products as well.

Do you belong to a price club?

See results

World Crafts and Social Justice

On the same shopping trip during which I discovered the MOM Brands cereal, I happened upon DeeDee and Krenda. They were diligently working to set up a display of jewelry and baskets, all of which were handcrafted by women from Africa. This surprised me even more than the local produce I discovered in the grocery section, and it excited me. Over a year prior to this shopping trip, I had written a series of articles for a client on the topic “shopping for good.” The beads and jewelry in the display at my local Costco were made by some of the Ugandan women about whom I had written.

Fair-Trade African Crafts at Costco

DeeDee and Krenda model jewelry from Uganda.
DeeDee and Krenda model jewelry from Uganda. | Source

For decades, Ugandan women have been crafting gorgeous colored beads from recycled paper. A few non-profit organizations have begun programs through which these women can earn a livable wage from their handicraft. These programs also provide education and entrepreneurial training to Ugandan women. The paper beads, which the women use to make fashionable necklaces, bracelets and earrings, are marketed all over the world, and each piece of jewelry comes with information about the artist who created it.

The jewelry and baskets DeeDee shows here are made from recycled materials.
The jewelry and baskets DeeDee shows here are made from recycled materials. | Source

The Rwandan baskets that Krenda and DeeDee had for sale come from Rwanda Partners. This program works to support the healing and reconciliation of people in the war-torn country of Rwanda. The following video shares more information about this program.

Limitations and Shopper Awareness

While it is possible to buy local products and items that support social justice and global awareness at Costco, the company also carries products made in China and produced by companies that are not as socially responsible as those mentioned above. For some shoppers, this might be a deal breaker. For me, it simply means that I need to remain aware of the purchases I make, even at a great store like Costco.

For those reading this who have believed that socially responsible shopping has to cost more, I hope you are encouraged by learning about all the options available at Costco. You can buy food to feed your family and support the local economy by shopping at Costco, and you can get gifts for loved ones that will benefit people around the world. If you want to do good while shopping, perhaps it is time to visit your local Costco.


This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

Show Details
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)