Image credit Pexels
In 2001 I moved to Switzerland for work. At the time, there were two main supermarket chains in the country: Coop and Migros.
Migros was the cheaper of the two so, being frugally-minded, that was where I did my weekly shopping. Over time I started to notice some surprising things. One of the ways Migros kept costs down was by only stocking own-brand products.
A popular soft drink in Switzerland is called ‘Rivella’; Migros stocked the knock-off ‘Mivella’ and so on. Because Migros only stocked own-brand products, the company had enormous power. The year I was there they realised that palm oil farming was destroying the rainforest, so they decided to stop stocking products that used palm oil. They controlled the manufacturing of everything they sold, so they were able to do this unilaterally.
They launched a marketing campaign called “Migros protects the rainforest” and, over the course of a year or so, changed the formulation of everything from toothpaste and soap to chocolate and ice cream. In very little time, the entire supermarket was palm oil free.