When it comes down to it, companies aren't going to do things that don't make them money. It's not a difficult concept, it's the foundation of capitalism. So if companies can make money by doing the right thing, they will. It doesn't make them evil (although greenwashing does).
With that knowledge, you have tremendous power to change the world with every dollar you spend. When you purchase anything, you are voting your support in that product, that company, and that company's policies. That doesn't mean you need to understand all the dealings of every company whose products you buy; it just means you should shop your values.
If you don't like the lack of standards and horrible human rights in products made in China, stop buying things made in China. If pesticides give you the creeps, buy organic. It's pretty simple, and it will have a change in the way companies run.
I've found an excellent resource on this topic, http://www.biggreenpurse.com/. It is geared primarily toward women, since according to the site women spend $.85 of every dollar in the marketplace. The site features info on how the power of your dollar can lead the environmental movement, and easy ways to shift your spending to greener options.
I'm especially fond of the Big Green Purse Shopping Principles :
1) Buy less.
2) Read the label.
3) Support sustainable standards.
4) Look for third-party verification.
5) Choose fewer ingredients.
6) Pick less packaging.
7) Buy local.
And I love the bottom line from that same link:
Ignore boasts that a product is eco-chic, earth-safe, or planet-neutral. Stick to the principles above to ensure that your Big Green Purse has the kind of big green impact that will make a difference both in the marketplace and on the environment.
That sounds like MSG if I've ever heard it!
Photo credit: http://www.garrisonphoto.org/sxc/