There was a deep, thunderous rumble at the end of 2017; a sound that we had been waiting in anticipation for. It was the sound of thousands people suddenly using the word ‘vegan’ at board meetings, in mainstream media and during conversations around the family table. Even better, people are not simply using the word vegan as a derogatory adjective, but people are understanding it, discussing it and having frank conversations about the core ethics of veganism, whether they agree with them or not.
All of this exposure is making some of the world’s largest corporations see vegans as a market that can be ‘tapped into’, a new group of people with a niche in the market and as a result, there has been a tidal wave of new products in 2018 and we are only in the first month of the year.
Many of these large corporations don’t share our ideals, they make our vegan-friendly products whilst also selling meat, dairy and products that contain animal products and for many vegans buying products from non-vegan companies isn’t acceptable. I understand this, we have to support independent businesses and vegan companies first and foremost.
However, should we boycott the largest corporations that make non-vegan products as well as vegan ones? In my opinion, no. Supporting and buying products from non-vegan companies does increase their profits, but the more compassionate products they sell, the more money they will invest back into the development of vegan-friendly foods, cosmetics, personal hygiene and cleaning products, and fashion items.
The more compassionate products companies sell, the more in touch with vegan ideals the people at the top of these companies may become. Who knows, a conversation that starts in a boardroom could spark somebody’s transition to veganism.
Yes, there is still a long way to go. Vegan doesn’t always mean cruelty-free and many vegan products are owned by parent companies that test on animals. There are still people who misunderstand and choose to stereotype us. There are still those companies, and people, who are resisting veganism as a social movement, and so it has always been, historically, when there has been a significant shift towards a different moral standpoint.
However, this January I urge you to take some time to give yourself a pat on the back. Not only are you personally saving the lives of animals on a daily basis, but you are influencing some of the largest companies on the earth to make vegan products, and that is something you should be proud of.
It is easy to think that you are just one person, and you aren’t making a difference. You are, with every product you buy, with every tweet and every conversation you are contributing to a social movement which will not be stopped.