Some time ago, I became more aware of how my choices as a consumer have a real impact on the world around me, so Chris and I have set out to make some changes. We’ve been making relatively small, painless changes in our daily shopping habits, but yesterday we made a big change. We dumped our current mobile phone service–Verizon Wireless–in favor of a socially responsible company called Credo Mobile (a Working Assets company). We had learned that Verizon has earned an “F” for overall social responsibility by the Council on Economic Priorities (CEP) and that they have given over $84 million to Washington lobbyists. This coupled with the likes of monopolistic angling, unsavory and discriminatory treatment of pregnant employees, and the denial of service to pro-choice groups, places Verizon in the ranks of “corporate villain.”

So, we’ve moved to Credo. The parent company–Working Assets–was started in 1985. Here’s how they describe their beginnings:

A small band of idealists comes together to further the causes of human rights, women’s rights, peace, environmentalism and an entire progressive agenda. They have an idea about helping people spend in a socially responsible way, turning everyday purchases into automatic acts of generosity.

Credo donates a portion of every dollar (at no extra cost to the customer) to progressive groups working for a better world in the areas of civil rights, economic and social justice, environment, peace and international freedom, voting rights and civic participation. Each year, Credo’s customers have the opportunity to nominate worthwhile organizations to support. Fifty are selected and then Credo’s customers vote on how the money will be distributed to these various causes. To date, Credo members/customers have donated over $65 million to progressive organizations for a better world. I have a feeling it’s going to feel pretty good doing business with this company.

If you want to feel good about your mobile phone bill, try Credo. They offer a $200 contract buy-out for up to three lines to allow you to get out of your existing contracts with your current provider. In other words, they will float you up to $600 to help you break the chains of your current contract in order to spend your money more responsibly. You can keep your current number, and the phones that they offer are made “green” by Credo’s purchase of carbon credits to offset the fuel it takes to ship them and the electricity they’ll use over their life span, and they will make it easy to ship your old phone back to them for refurbishing or recycling–to keep it out of a landfill. Did I mention that Credo’s bills are printed with soy-based inks on all recycled paper? And that for every ton of paper Credo uses, they plant 100 trees (enough for another ton of paper). I’m getting excited now. I almost can’t wait to rack up a big cell phone bill. Some money you don’t mind spending.