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Get the latest news and information on companies, products and issues related to everyday purchasing. Including reports, campaigns and internal updates. Exploring ethical and sustainable alternatives in our consumer culture.

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image Report exposes illegal logging in Victoria  — 7th Sep 2017

Friends of the Earth Melbourne has released a report documenting 27 unlawful native forest logging operations in protected threatened species habitat and rainforest.

Victoria's forests and threatened species are in crisis. Logging in critically important habitat is pushing endangered wildlife towards extinction. Legal protections for Victoria's wildlife are not being followed by VicForests and are not being enforced by the Victorian Environment Department.

Join with Friends of the Earth to call on Environment Minister Lily D'Ambrosio to enforce our environment laws and protect Victoria's threatened wildlife from native forest logging.   [source]
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image EU starts in-depth probe of Bayer, Monsanto deal  — 22nd Aug 2017

The European Commission has started an in-depth investigation of Bayer's planned $66 billion takeover of U.S. seeds group Monsanto, saying it was worried about competition in various pesticide and seeds markets.

The deal would create the world's largest integrated pesticides and seeds company, the Commission said, adding this limited the number of competitors selling herbicides and seeds in Europe.  [source]
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image Fairtrade Fortnight August 4-17  — 2nd Aug 2017

Fairtrade Fortnight is about people coming together to support farmers and workers around the world. It's your chance to stand up for what you believe in - whether that's protecting the environment, gender equality, or ensuring farmers and workers are paid fairly. Find out how to get involved.   [source]
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image McCormick buys Reckitt Benckiser Group's food division  — 21st Jul 2017

Reckitt Benckiser Group has entered into an agreement to sell its food business to McCormick & Company for $4.2 billion.

McCormick will retain the leading brand names of French's, Frank's RedHot and Cattlemen's.

See more about McCormick at the Shop Ethical! company page. [source]

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image Woolies, Coles and Harris Farm Markets ban plastic bags  — 17th Jul 2017

Woolworths, Coles and Harris Farm Markets have all made a commitment to stop offering customers single-use plastic bags by the end of 2018.

Both Woolworths and Coles say they will stop offering the bags within the next 12-months, whist Harris Farm Markets will remove the bags from its stores by 1 January 2018.

South Australia, the Northern Territory and the Australian Capital Territory already ban single-use plastic bags. Queensland will be banning the bags in 2018. New South Wales, Victoria and Western Australia are yet to introduce such legislation.  [source]
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image Thai Union commits to more sustainable, socially-responsible seafood  — 11th Jul 2017

Thai Union Group PCL has committed to measures that will tackle illegal fishing and overfishing, as well as improve the livelihoods of hundreds of thousands of workers throughout the company's supply chains.

Thai Union's new commitments build upon its sustainability strategy, including efforts to support best practice fisheries, improve other fisheries, reduce illegal and unethical practices in its global supply chains, and bring more responsibly-caught tuna to key markets.  [source]
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image Nanoparticles found in baby formula  — 5th Jul 2017

Australia's food regulator has downplayed calls for it to recall some brands of infant formula after they were found to contain potentially toxic nanoparticles.

Environmental group Friends of the Earth wants three brands of formula taken off shop shelves after tests showed they contained microscopic nano-hydroxyapatite particles, despite them being banned from use.

But Food Standards Australia New Zealand said there's no new evidence to show that the formulas pose a risk to the health of babies and young children.

  [source]
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image L'Oreal sells The Body Shop to Brazil's Natura  — 13th Jun 2017

The Body Shop ownership battle is over with Brazil's Natura winning with an unlikely 1 billion euro bid.

Natura is best known as the owner of the Aesop brand of natural-based cosmetics.

The ownership change has brought up The Body Shop's rating from an F to an A.  [source]
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image 365 clothing brands to be audited  — 15th May 2017

The Fair Work Ombudsman is auditing hundreds of businesses nationally after finding a lack of awareness of the minimum pay rates that apply to workers who make clothes, bags and footwear in factories and their homes.

"We identified a strong need to follow-up the clothing manufacturing businesses we educated during the initial phase of the campaign with audits to ensure they are meeting workers' minimum lawful entitlements," Fair Work Ombudsman Natalie James said.

"We are conscious that there are many overseas and migrant female workers in this sector who can be vulnerable if they are not fully aware of their rights or reluctant to complain, so it's important we are proactive about checking they are receiving their full entitlements."  [source]
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image The ACCC takes Murray Goulburn to court  — 1st May 2017

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has instituted proceedings in the Federal Court against Murray Goulburn (MG) dairy cooperative.

The ACCC is alleging MG engaged in unconscionable conduct and made false or misleading representations in contravention of Australian Consumer Law.

The ACCC is also alleging that former MG Managing Director, Gary Helou, and former Chief Financial officer, Bradley Hingle, were knowingly concerned in MG's conduct.

"The ACCC alleges that Murray Goulburn's conduct had an adverse impact on many farmers who, as a result of Murray Goulburn's representations regarding the farmgate milk price, had made business decisions," ACCC Chairman Rod Sims said.  [source]
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image Health ministers give hemp in food the green light  — 28th Apr 2017

The use of low-THC hemp seeds in food products has been approved by state and federal health ministers after years of lobbying.

Hemp foods will be available for sale for human consumption across all states in Australia from November this year.

The use of hemp as a food had been rejected by ministers in the past over fears it would affect roadside drug testing and due to potential perceptions of tolerance toward the drug's illegal counterpart. Ministers noted at the meeting that it is highly unlikely that consumption of food products containing the levels of THC tested would result in any positive tests on oral fluid, blood or urine, according to a Swinburne University of Technology report.  [source]
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image Greenseas goes FAD-free following public outcry  — 27th Apr 2017

Greenseas has announced it has ended its arrangement with suppliers that used Fish Aggregating Devices, or FADs, after Greenpeace's 2017 Canned Tuna Guide found they were the worst performing of all the major brands on the Australian market.

"These devices are indiscriminate killers of sea life long abandoned by all the other major brands and we welcome Greenseas' immediate commitment to stop using them," Greenpeace campaigner Andrew Kelly said.

Following the release of the Greenpeace 2017 Canned Tuna Guide, a public backlash saw more than 18,000 people email Woolworths urging them to drop the Greenseas brand from their shelves.

The supermarket giant then scheduled an emergency meeting with Kraft Heinz, the owner of Greenseas, to request immediate action on these customer concerns.  [source]
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image Fashion Revolution Week (April 24-30)  — 25th Apr 2017

Fashion Revolution Week centres around the annual #whomademyclothes campaign, which happens in April each year on the anniversary of the 2013 Rana Plaza factory collapse where 1,138 people were killed and many more injured.

Fashion Revolution Week encourages people around the world to ask brands 'Who made my clothes' and demand greater transparency in the fashion supply chain.

See how we rate different clothing brands on supply chain transparency and other ethical issues at the Shop Ethical! clothing comparison page.

  [source]
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image Big brands bend animal testing stance for China sales  — 25th Apr 2017

Big name beauty companies are bending their non-animal testing stance in order to sell on the Chinese market, due to country laws requiring mandatory animal testing on imported cosmetics, according to a report by CNBC.

Brands with an anti-animal testing ethos are loathe to miss out on the sales pull of China, the world's largest consumer market, and are said to be working around it.

The mandatory animal testing law is said to be causing problems for smaller natural brands that won't adhere to the requirements and as such miss out on selling on the profitable market.  [source]
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image Greenpeace urges Woolworths to dump Greenseas tuna  — 19th Apr 2017

Woolworths is being urged to dump Greenseas, after a survey found it was the only major canned tuna brand still using fish caught with FADs - a destructive and unsustainable method. FADs act like a magnet, attracting a wide range of fish into nets, as well as sea turtles, sharks and stingrays. The method is exacerbating over-fishing problems around the world.

In its latest canned tuna shopping guide, Greenpeace has ranked Greenseas last for failing on key measures, including transparency about its sustainability policies, fishing methods and human rights record.

See more about the companies behind your tuna at the Shop Ethical! canned fish comparison page.

  [source]
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image Cadbury withdraws from Fairtrade chocolate scheme  — 12th Apr 2017

Cadbury is pulling out of the Fairtrade scheme, after seven years of giving some of its best-known chocolate treats an ethical stamp of approval, in favour of its own sustainability programme – Cocoa Life scheme.

The Fairtrade logo will now be transferred to the back of the products' packaging as a “partner” on the ground that Fairtrade will continue to monitor the company's work.

In Australia, Canada, New Zealand and South Africa, Cadbury Dairy Milk chocolate will remain certified throughout 2017. As part of the global roll out of Cocoa Life across Cadbury brands, they will move to carry the Cocoa Life logo on the front of pack during 2018.

See more about the companies behind your favourite chocolate brands on the Shop Ethical! comparison page.

  [source]
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image Samsung will recycle Galaxy Note 7  — 27th Mar 2017

Ahead of the Samsung Galaxy S8 launch, the company has released a statement regarding its plans to recycle Note 7 devices. The process comes in three parts: save salvageable components such as camera modules and semiconductors, extract metal parts with the help from "eco-friendly" third-party companies, and sell refurbished devices "where applicable."

The announcement appears to walk back on what Samsung initially pledged last fall, when it said it would dispose of the Note 7 and had no plans to repair or refurbish them. Instead, Samsung has confirmed it will work with local authorities and carriers to sell it as a refurbished device, rumored to come with a smaller battery to prevent it from overheating and catching fire.   [source]
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image FSANZ approves hemp products as food  — 24th Mar 2017

Food regulator, Food Standard Australia and New Zealand (FSANZ) has approved low-THC hemp seed products to be used as a food.

THC is the psychoactive component of cannabis and the consumption of the products therefore does not result in the psychological effects associated with high-THC cannabis.

However, the regulator's approval does not mean that the sale of the products can now begin. First, state and territory governments must give their approval.

Supporters of the change are hopeful that approval will be at a meeting of the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) in April.  [source]
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image Supermarkets take most of Australia's alcohol spend  — 22nd Mar 2017

Australians spent a massive $14.5 billion on alcohol from liquor retailers across 2016 says the latest data released by Roy Morgan Research.

Almost three-quarters of this money went to supermarket-affiliated retailers with independent stores dragging far behind the major chains like Dan Murphy's and BWS.

Woolworths' Dan Murphy's continued its success in 2016, taking approximately 30 per cent of the total $14.5 billion spent at liquor stores.

Combined, Woolworths-owned alcohol stores took just under 50 per cent of the total money spent at liquor stores by Australians across the year.

Learn more about alcohol retail in Australia on our Shop Ethical! page.

  [source]
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image Dairy workers industrial action ends with new pay deal  — 21st Mar 2017

The industrial dispute at Parmalat's yoghurt factory in Echuca has been resolved, with workers accepting a new pay deal.

After workers rejected an initial pay offer, the company applied to terminate the existing agreement which the Australian Manufacturing Workers Union (AMWU) claimed would see wages slashed by up to 40 per cent.

Under the new agreement, the workers will receive a two per cent wage increase over the next three years and all production workers will be direct employees of Parmalat. In addition, there will be improved union rights provisions and the existing arrangements for Parmalat metal and electrical trades employees will be maintained.

ACTU Secretary Sally McManus called the news "a huge win for the Parmalat workers".  [source]
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image More Australians than ever against animal testing  — 9th Mar 2017

New legislation has banned the sale of animal-tested makeup and skincare after a report revealed more Australians than ever are against the practice. July will see the sale of cosmetics and other personal products tested on animals prohibited in Australia after the ALP, the Greens and the Animal Justice Party backed the Coalition's legislation.

A Roy Morgan study found that 46% of Australian women take an anti-animal testing when buying makeup. This figure is up from 2012's 41%, with the study announcing that the cruelty-free label is the third most important feature women look for when buying cosmetics, knocking sun protection into fourth place with 42%.

Despite coming in behind value for money and natural look elements, the ‘not tested on animals’ movement has gained the most ground.

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image Vegemite set to return to Australian ownership  — 20th Jan 2017

Vegemite is set to return to Australian ownership after dairy company Bega announced it would buy most of Mondelez International's Australia and New Zealand grocery and cheese business.

The deal does not include Philadelphia products but will see Australian ownership of Kraft-branded products, including peanut butter, cheeses and mayonnaise.  [source]
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image ACCC takes court action on "flushable" wipes  — 13th Dec 2016

The consumer watchdog has started Federal Court proceedings against consumer goods giant Kimberly-Clark and rival Pental alleging that they each made false or misleading representations in relation to ‘flushable’ wipes they marketed and supplied in Australia.

"The ACCC alleges that the impression given by the representations, which Kimberly-Clark and Pental each made about these products was that they were suitable to be flushed down household toilets in Australia, when this was not the case," ACCC chairman Rod Sims said.  [source]
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image We have a new online store!  — 8th Dec 2016

We're excited to announce our new online store - just in time for Christmas!

Our new store makes it even easier to shop ethically and sustainably, with an easy-to-use customer interface as well as credit card and PayPal payment options.

Browse our store for practical and ethical Christmas gifts such as our popular print guide, books, 2017 calendar, honeybee wraps and more!  [source]
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image Human rights abuses in global palm oil production  — 30th Nov 2016

Colgate-Palmolive, Kellogg's, Nestle and Unilever are among nine global food and household companies selling products containing palm oil tarnished by human rights abuses in Indonesia, an Amnesty International investigation has found.

In a report detailing the operations of Indonesian palm oil plantations run by the world's biggest palm oil grower Wilmar International, Amnesty International presented evidence of human rights abuses including women working for US$2.50 a day and children as young as eight working in hazardous conditions.

"Corporate giants like Colgate, Nestlé and Unilever assure consumers that their products use 'sustainable palm oil', but our findings reveal that the palm oil is anything but," said Meghna Abraham, Senior Investigator at Amnesty International.   [source]
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image Queensland government bans plastic bags  — 30th Nov 2016

The Queensland State Government has decided to ban the use of single-use plastic bans by 2018.

The ban includes the typical transparent plastic bags typically used by supermarkets. It does not include the heavier plastic bags usually used by other retailers like clothes shops and department stores. However the Queensland State Government is hoping to implement voluntary guidelines to help stop retailers using these types of bags.

The New South Wales and Victoria do not currently have plastic bag bans but South Australia, the Northern Territory, the Australian Capital Territory and Tasmania already have bans in place. A discussion paper has been released asking for feedback on the government’s decision to ban the bags.   [source]
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image Support palm oil labelling on food products  — 10th Nov 2016

On November 25 2016, Ministers around Australia and New Zealand will meet to decide whether Australia will once and for all label palm oil on food products.

Palm oil is in almost half of all packaged supermarket products but currently food manufacturers are allowed to hide palm oil by labelling it as vegetable oil. The simple fact is, without transparent labelling, you cannot tell whether you are contributing to the deaths of over 1,000 orangutans a year as their habitat is destroyed for palm oil plantations.

You have a right to know whether the products you buy contain palm oil. You have the right to choose food products that won’t push orangutans to extinction.

Tell Ministers that on November 25 you want them to vote 'Yes' to transparent labelling by signing this Zoos Victoria petition  [source]
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image Caltex doubles down on wage fraud  — 4th Nov 2016

investigation to include the Rana family, one of its largest franchisee groups with stores in NSW and South Australia. Caltex chief executive Julian Segal said the company had ramped up its investigation into the franchise network of 650 sites to stamp out wage fraud. "We are disgusted and we will act on any unlawful behaviour, including termination of franchise agreements," he said. He said a core value of Caltex was "care" and some franchisees in the system had done the wrong thing by their workers. A Fairfax Media investigation this week revealed that the Fair Work Ombudsman, which enforces minimum pay rates across Australia, gave Caltex advanced warning that it was going to raid its service stations across the country.  [source]
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image Woolworths in Federal Court on unconscionable conduct  — 31st Oct 2016

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) alleges in a Federal Court case this week that Woolworths Group Ltd (WOW) demanded extra payments from suppliers at short notice as part of its Mind the Gap program. In December 2015, Australian Food News reported the present Federal Court action against Woolworths claiming that the Mind the Gap charges were designed to extract AUD $60 million from suppliers in the 2014 pre-Christmas trading season. Specifically, 821 “tier two” suppliers were asked for payments from AUD $4,291to AUD $1.4 million – any supplier unwilling to pay was seen as “not supporting” Woolworths.  [source]
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image SABMiller acquired by AB InBev  — 6th Oct 2016

SABMiller shareholders have backed a multi-billion dollar takeover by brewer AB InBev. Shareholders voted overwhelmingly in favour, with 95.5% of minority investors approving the deal, providing a clear victory for AB InBev. The deal is expected to be complete by 10 October.

The takeover will mean that AB InBev, which is already the world's largest brewer, will sell one in four beers worldwide. This includes beer and cider brands owned by Carlton & United Breweries including Cascade, Strongbow, Stella Artois, Pure Blonde and Dirty Granny cider. The deal has dropped Carlton & United Breweries Shop Ethical! rating from a C to an F.

See more on the social and environmental track record of AB InBev at the Shop Ethical! company profile page.

  [source]
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image Choice Shonky Awards 2016: Samsung, Amex and Nestle  — 5th Oct 2016

The Shonky Awards put the spotlight on the "worst of the worst" consumer products of 2016. Hosted annually by consumer group Choice, the Shonky Awards celebrated their 11th year on Wednesday, dubbing nine products and services the "lemons" of 2016. Electronics giant Samsung was given a gong for supplying more than 50,000 dangerous Galaxy Note7 phones, in which faulty components caused battery explosions around the world, prompting a global recall. It is the second year in a row Samsung has received an award, after featuring last year for its sloppy recall of top-loader washing machines with a fault that has sparked house fires.  [source]
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image Changes to Shop Ethical! ratings  — 1st Sep 2016

There have been some company ownership changes in recent months, as well as some new information arising, that has resulted in us changing some company ratings. Unfortunately, they've nearly all gone backwards!
Here is a summary of the recent changes (they've all been updated on our website):
> Snack Brands Australia (who make CC's, Cheezels, Kettle and Samboy chips) is now foreign owned and their rating has slipped from A to C
> Pacific Brands (Bonds, Berlei, Sheridan) has been acquired by US giant Hanesbrands and their rating has dropped from C to F
> Gourmet Garden herbs is now foreign owned by McCormick and their rating has gone down to an F
> Integria Healthcare's rating dropped from a B to a D after it was reported that Thursday Plantation tests on animals
> Lush has dropped from an A to a C after it received a D rating in the Rank a Brand Cosmetics Report
> Patties Foods (Nanna's, Four 'N Twenty pies) has agreed to a $232 million takeover by Australian private equity firm Pacific Equity Partners. No rating change.   [source]
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image Baiada boosts traceability efforts  — 21st Jul 2016

Lilydale has been launched with new labelling that allows consumers to trace each chicken back to the farm it came from.

The free range chicken brand owned by Baiada Poultry has lifted its traceability credentials as a result of rising consumer demand for information about the source of their food. The chicken processor, which is Australian owned and operated, claims to be the first to in the meat industry to introduce this new type of labelling.

See more about the companies behind your chicken at the Shop Ethical! poultry comparison page.

  [source]
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image Are cereal, nut and muesli bars really a healthy snack choice?  — 21st Jul 2016

Cereal bars, muesli bars, oat slices, nut bars and raw bars have a healthy image. Appealing, earth-toned packaging, images of wholegrains, nuts and fruit and claims of "no artificial colours and flavours" are standard. Even the brand names contribute to the health halo (think All Natural Bakery, Be Natural, Go Natural, Nature Valley and Nice & Natural).

When Choice assessed more than 200 supermarket bars for their nutritional value they found that many bars are so loaded with saturated fat and sugar, they have more in common with products in the confectionery aisle than those in the health food aisle.

See more about the companies behind supermarket "health" bars at the Shop Ethical! comparison page.

  [source]
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image The stupid appliances we waste money on  — 10th Jul 2016

Article by comedian Kitty Flanagan on what we need and the things we are prepared to spend money on. Printed in Sunday Age/Sydney Morning Herald.

I recently became aware of the Dunning-Kruger effect, a study that proved you can be so stupid you don't even realise you're stupid. I'm paraphrasing obviously, because being a bona fide, scientific study, they measured results in terms of incompetence, ignorance and inflated self evaluation. Or, stupidity.

Since discovering the study I've been using it to explain everything from the rise and rise of Donald Trump to the resurgence of One Nation. It's also helped me rationalise why some people believe one religion is more valid than another. And why there are still cranks out there who think gay people don't deserve the same civil rights as everyone else.

But then I panicked. Hang on. What if I'm the one who is so stupid I don't know I'm stupid. I studied the study further and realised the key is self awareness. So long as you're aware you're an idiot, you're OK.

So here is how I know I'm an idiot. This week I bought a Popcorn Maker. I believed I could make healthier popcorn by spending $25 on a special machine that would "air" pop my popcorn, no oil required!

If you happen to be in the market for a Popcorn Maker, I can tell you where to find one – in the dumpster outside my house. You can also find them in the "Pointless Appliances You Don't Need" section of any department store.

continues at source....


See Shop Ethical! Appliances for making informed choices when shopping for household items such as washing machines, fridges and microwaves.   [source]
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image New Rank a Brand cosmetics report  — 7th Jul 2016

A new Rank a Brand report has looked at the performance of 30 major cosmetics brands on multiple issues in the areas of climate, environment, animal welfare, health, and labour conditions.

The general finding was that, just like in most sectors, the great majority of brands still perform poorly. Luckily, there are multiple exceptions for ethical consumers. Weleda, Dr. Hauschka, Logona and Sante scored the highest rankings of the brands assessed.

At Shop Ethical! we use the Rank a Brand report to help inform our own cosmetics ratings. For example, Lush Cosmetics dropped down to a D rating based on the findings of the report.   [source]
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image New guide to avoiding packaged foods containing BPA  — 7th Jul 2016

Despite many major food manufacturers and retailers announcing in recent years that they would move away from using bisphenol A in packaging materials, BPA remains present in the lining of many canned goods. Recent testing by an advocacy group found BPA in 70 percent of nearly 200 samples - including products from companies such as Campbell's and Kroger's, which have pledged to phase out BPA.

The Environmental Working Group has a new tool to help shoppers avoid some 16,000 products that may have BPA in their packaging. The information included in the database comes from a reliable place: the food companies themselves.   [source]
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image New country of origin food labelling hits supermarkets  — 7th Jul 2016

Australia’s new country of origin food labelling laws have been launched with the promise of more "clarity and consistency for Australian consumers".

The kangaroo logo will feature on most new labels, along with a bar chart showing what proportion of the ingredients come from Australia. The new system is compulsory for all food products produced for sale in Australia.

Consumers will gradually start to see the new labels roll out, with a two year phase-in period to allow companies to redesign, reprint and apply the new labels before the 30 June 2018 deadline, when the new system will become mandatory.  [source]
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image Shop Ethical! expands to include appliances  — 26th May 2016

You can now make more informed choices when shopping for household items such as washing machines, fridges, coffee machines and microwaves with our guide to appliances.

We chose to add appliances on the strength of Baptist World Aid's latest electronics report.  [source]
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image Colgate guilty of manipulating the laundry detergent market  — 29th Apr 2016

Colgate has been found guilty of conspiring with two rivals and supermarket giant Woolworths to manipulate the laundry detergent market and rip off customers.

The Federal Court has slapped an $18 million penalty on Colgate-Palmolive, saying it breached Australia's competition laws in its attempts to limit the supply and control the price of detergents.

Colgate had entered into a cartel arrangement in 2008-09 with competitors Unilever and Cussons, with the co-operation of Woolworths, to phase out standard concentrated laundry detergents by a certain date and bring in ultra concentrates, the court found. All parties stood to profit because ultra concentrates are cheaper to make, store and transport. They agreed to not pass on savings to consumers.

This finding has tipped Colgate Palmolive Australia's Shop Ethical! rating from a C to a D.  [source]
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image Upcoming 'Manufacturing in Australia' project  — 18th Apr 2016

A call-out to participate. The Ethical Consumer Group are in the process of developing a series of resources that look specifically at manufacturing in Australia. Presently our Shop Ethical! guide provides information largely focusing on the companies behind the brands. We're keen to expand this by adding features of the products themselves, including 'country of origin' information, so you know where the things you buy are manufactured or grown.

Key components of our project are:
  • a mapping resource showing production facilities of major food brands in Australia
  • a smartphone scan feature where you can help us crowdsource product label data to expand our dataset
Ultimately this resource will help you and other shoppers support Australian industry and jobs with your dollar. We're looking for people to help out with the project, and project partners. If you're interested, please drop us a line!   [source]
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image The supermarket brands Aussies cannot do without  — 4th Apr 2016

Three thousand Australian consumers were recently surveyed to discover the supermarket brands they cannot do without. The top 20 brands were: Cadbury, Arnott's, Heinz, Kellogg's, Kraft , Coca-Cola, Nescafe, Nestle, Lindt , Sanitarium, Golden Circle, Bega Cheese, SPC, Edgell, Uncle Tobys, Streets, Kleenex, Vegemite, Dick Smith Foods and John West.

It's disappointing to see that many consumer's favourite brands are foreign owned and have a poor social and environmental track record. Almost a third (7 out of 20) have a Shop Ethical! rating of F, and 18 out of 20 are rated C or below (only Bega Cheese and Dick Smith Foods score higher with a B rating). Only 4 brands are Australian owned (including SPC, which is 30% owned by Coca-Cola company).

See our '10 Largest brand-owners in Australia' interactive chart - indicating the companies that own our major food and drink brands.

Shop Ethical! was created so that people could make an informed choice about the products they purchased. To make sure your dollar is spent in alignment with your values, get our recently updated pocket guide or app.   [source]
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image Country of Origin labelling gets green light  — 1st Apr 2016

New Country of Origin Labelling (CoOL) for food sold in Australia has been given the go ahead by commonwealth, state and territory consumer affairs ministers.

Each label will indicate the proportion of Australian ingredients by weight, displayed in a statement and a bar graph that aims to be easier for consumers to read. The new CoOL will include statement about where the food was produced, grown, made or packaged. The new system will also see clearer rules around when food labels can carry 'made in' or 'packed in' statements.

The reforms will start from 1 July 2016 and business will have two years to transition to the new arrangements.  [source]
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image 'Free range eggs' definition reached  — 31st Mar 2016

After years of confusion, consumers and farmers have finally received a clear, legal definition of "free range eggs".

Australia's consumer affairs ministers will adopt a legally binding standard with a definition that states free range eggs must come from hens that have meaningful and regular access to an outdoor range, with a stocking density of up to 10,000 birds per hectare.

The announcement is a loss for consumer and animal welfare advocates who support the voluntary Model Code of Practice, published by the CSIRO, which sets the limit at 1500 hens per hectare, unless the hens are regularly rotated.

We've updated our guide to eggs to reflect which brands follow the new legal definition and which follow the Model Code of Practice.  [source]
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image New Environmental Working Group report on mercury in seafood  — 26th Mar 2016

Pregnant women who follow the US government's draft dietary advice could eat too much fish high in toxic mercury, which is harmful to the developing brains of fetuses, babies and young children, according to a new EWG study. At the same time, they could fail to get enough of the omega-3 fatty acids essential to their babies` healthy development.

EWG tested hair samples from 254 women in 40 states who eat two or more seafood meals per week, about the same as recommendations under consideration by the Food and Drug Administration and the Environmental Protection Agency. The tests found that nearly 30 percent exceeded the current EPA safety guideline for mercury exposure during pregnancy. The study shows that during pregnancy women should not only watch how much fish they eat, but what kind of fish.  [source]
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image Study reveals tremendous benefits of eating less meat  — 26th Mar 2016

Implementing dietary change across the globe could have multiple health, environmental, and economic benefits. A new study looked at the effects of eating less meat and found, in a fascinating intersection of issues, that reducing meat consumption would improve human health, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and decrease healthcare costs significantly. In other words, it could be a win-win situation for all if the biggest hurdle dietary change is achieved.  [source]
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image How 'clean' is the palm oil used by major brands around the world?  — 10th Mar 2016

Greenpeace has releasing the results of their investigation into which companies are keeping their promises to stop deforestation in Indonesia for palm oil.

The 'Company Scorecard' shows that only a few companies are making significant headway towards ensuring that there is no deforestation in their palm oil supply chains, and most are moving far too slowly. Of the companies surveyed, Colgate-Palmolive, Johnson & Johnson and PepsiCo show the poorest performance and are failing to keep the 'no deforestation' promises they made to their customers.  [source]
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image Good eggs this Easter  — 25th Feb 2016

Stop the Traffik has launched a campaign to help eliminate human trafficking and child labour in the easter egg supply chain. Download the Good Egg Guide and sign the petition to get slave-free eggs into our supermarkets.  [source]
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image Rip Curl using 'slave labour' to manufacture clothes in North Korea  — 25th Feb 2016

Iconic Australian surfwear giant Rip Curl has sold millions of dollars worth of clothes made in North Korea, where factory workers endure slave-like conditions. Rip Curl has blamed one of its subcontractors for the practice.

In a major embarrassment that raises serious questions about Rip Curl's garment sourcing practices, a Fairfax Media investigation can reveal that workers at a the Taedonggang Clothing Factory near the North Korean capital Pyongyang were contracted to make some of Rip Curl's 2015 winter range of clothing.

The clothes were shipped to retail outlets and sold with a "made in China" logo on them in a practice unions and non-governmental organisations say is likely to involve other large Australian clothing brands.

  [source]
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image Shop Ethical! app launches new features  — 15th Feb 2016

We're excited to announce two fantastic new features on the Shop Ethical! app that make it easier to use and more effective than ever. You can now scan barcodes directly from the app to get instant company information and also give customised feedback to a company using assessment information. The app is available for iPhone and Android from the App Store and Google Play.  [source]
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Internal News

image We have a new online store!  — 8th Dec 2016

We're excited to announce our new online store - just in time for Christmas!

Our new store makes it even easier to shop ethically and sustainably, with an easy-to-use customer interface as well as credit card and PayPal payment options.

Browse our store for practical and ethical Christmas gifts such as our popular print guide, books, 2017 calendar, honeybee wraps and more!  [source]
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image Changes to Shop Ethical! ratings  — 1st Sep 2016

There have been some company ownership changes in recent months, as well as some new information arising, that has resulted in us changing some company ratings. Unfortunately, they've nearly all gone backwards!
Here is a summary of the recent changes (they've all been updated on our website):
> Snack Brands Australia (who make CC's, Cheezels, Kettle and Samboy chips) is now foreign owned and their rating has slipped from A to C
> Pacific Brands (Bonds, Berlei, Sheridan) has been acquired by US giant Hanesbrands and their rating has dropped from C to F
> Gourmet Garden herbs is now foreign owned by McCormick and their rating has gone down to an F
> Integria Healthcare's rating dropped from a B to a D after it was reported that Thursday Plantation tests on animals
> Lush has dropped from an A to a C after it received a D rating in the Rank a Brand Cosmetics Report
> Patties Foods (Nanna's, Four 'N Twenty pies) has agreed to a $232 million takeover by Australian private equity firm Pacific Equity Partners. No rating change.   [source]
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image Shop Ethical! expands to include appliances  — 26th May 2016

You can now make more informed choices when shopping for household items such as washing machines, fridges, coffee machines and microwaves with our guide to appliances.

We chose to add appliances on the strength of Baptist World Aid's latest electronics report.  [source]
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image Upcoming 'Manufacturing in Australia' project  — 18th Apr 2016

A call-out to participate. The Ethical Consumer Group are in the process of developing a series of resources that look specifically at manufacturing in Australia. Presently our Shop Ethical! guide provides information largely focusing on the companies behind the brands. We're keen to expand this by adding features of the products themselves, including 'country of origin' information, so you know where the things you buy are manufactured or grown.

Key components of our project are:
  • a mapping resource showing production facilities of major food brands in Australia
  • a smartphone scan feature where you can help us crowdsource product label data to expand our dataset
Ultimately this resource will help you and other shoppers support Australian industry and jobs with your dollar. We're looking for people to help out with the project, and project partners. If you're interested, please drop us a line!   [source]
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image Shop Ethical! app launches new features  — 15th Feb 2016

We're excited to announce two fantastic new features on the Shop Ethical! app that make it easier to use and more effective than ever. You can now scan barcodes directly from the app to get instant company information and also give customised feedback to a company using assessment information. The app is available for iPhone and Android from the App Store and Google Play.  [source]
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image Shop Ethical! launches new Ice-cream Companion  — 4th Feb 2016

Everyone enjoys a summer ice-cream. This summer however, we were frustrated to learn that all ice-creams are not created equal. In fact some have travelled a very long way to be lovingly devoured. Ever wondered where your ice-cream was made? Check out our Ice-cream Companion and our new manufacturing locations project.  [source]
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image New Shop Ethical! Pocket Guide now available!  — 3rd Dec 2015

We're delighted to announce that the 8th edition of the Shop Ethical! pocket guide is here!

When you purchase a product the money you spend endorses a company and its activities whether you are aware of it or not. The new look, completely revised Shop Ethical! pocket guide helps to transform the way you shop by matching your purchasing habits with your social and environmental values.

What`s new in this edition:
- New colour-coded ratings system
- New features on clothing, electronics and retail
- Information snapshots Shopping tips, Blights of Industry, Labelling
- `Be an Ethical Shopper` 12 step action calendar centrespread
- Rating overview showing the areas a company has received praise or criticism in

At $9, the guide makes a perfect Christmas gift or Kris Kringle.

Order now to ensure it arrives in time for Christmas.

  [source]
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image Ethical Christmas Guide  — 3rd Dec 2015

It's easy to get caught up in the busyness, anxiety and the frenzy of over-consumption at Christmas time. That's why we've put together an Ethical Christmas Guide full of tips and resources to help you stay sustainable, ethical and most importantly, stress-free this Christmas.

Our guide focuses on three key areas where you can make positive choices for the health of the planet, your community, and yourself: gifts, food and decorations.

View the Ethical Christmas Guide.

  [source]
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image New from Shop Ethical! - 2016 Permaculture Calendar  — 1st Oct 2015

Get ready for a year of a sustainable gardening with the 2016 Permaculture Calendar, available now from our online store. Permaculture is a design philosophy of working with, rather than against, nature. Effective permaculture can save you time, money and resources. The 2016 Permaculture Calendar is internationally relevant and filled with inspirational and thought provoking images that support and reinforce your values every day of the year. Learn each of the 12 design principles over the course of a month and be reminded of suitable garden activities with daily icons and phase times according to the moon planting guide. The calendar is produced in Australia on 100% recycled paper using vegetable based inks.  [source]
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image Shop Ethical! Electronics Guide  — 22nd Apr 2015

Electronic devices have become such an integral part of our daily lives that it's hard to remember how we ever lived without internet, flat screens, and smartphones. Choosing which brand of smartphone to buy usually comes down to cost, features and "cool factor". Ethical factors such as tin sourcing, workers rights and recyclability rarely come into play. Even if a shopper was concerned about these issues, researching how companies are doing on these and other important issues would be a difficult and time-consuming task - until now.
The team at Shop Ethical have done all the hard work for you. With the launch of our new electronics category, it has never been easier to find out how your favourite electronics brands are responding to issues such as conflict minerals, labour exploitation, eliminating toxics, e-waste, and repairability.
The most popular guide to ethical shopping in Australia, Shop Ethical provides you with the easiest way to make informed purchasing decisions whether you're shopping for groceries, clothing, toys, office supplies, or electronics. The Shop Ethical app and website gives you access to over 5,000 products across nearly 300 product types with information on the social and environmental track record of the companies behind common brands.   [source]
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image Shop Ethical! launches new ratings system  — 22nd Apr 2015

Shop Ethical released its first book in 2008 and its first app in 2010. Now after 125,000 book sales and thousands of app sales the folks behind Shop Ethical are upgrading their company ratings system.
Back when the first book came out the 4 level ratings system was simply tick, cross, boycott and no information. Then in 2010 two new ratings levels were introduced, the light tick and the light cross, for companies who had lesser praises or criticisms. Now in 2015 the ratings system is being taken to the next level. Gone are the ticks and crosses, in its place is the traditional letter grades system, A B C D F.
The methodology behind this new ratings system is much more sophisticated. Previously, a company with 10 praises and one criticism would get the same rating as a company with one praise and 10 criticisms. Not anymore. Under the new methodology a company with 10 praises and one criticism (for example) will get a `C`, while a company with one praise and 10 criticisms gets an `F`. It is also more difficult to get the top rating, `A`. Whereas in the past one full praise could get you the top rating, it now takes multiple praises to do so.
The new company ratings system is more intuitive and user-friendly, while also better representing the company assessment data the Shop Ethical team have amassed over the last 10 years. The new ratings system is being launched simultaneously on the Shop Ethical iOS and Android apps, and on the Shop Ethical website. Check out ethical.org.au/about/ratings for the full rundown.   [source]
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image Shop Ethical! app update  — 21st Nov 2014

A major update of our popular Shop Ethical! app is now available for iPhone and Android users. The free update features a new look, new data, new category (Retail), plus other improvements.  [source]
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image New Retail category and Duopoly chart  — 5th Apr 2014

Our website has a new category Retail. It covers all the major supermarkets, department stores, fuel & convenience stores, hardware stores, liquor stores and toy stores. Woolworths and Wesfarmers dominate all these sectors, but there are other options. Are your shopping choices supporting gaming, worker exploitation or anticompetitive practices? It's estimated that 40 cents in every dollar we spend goes to a Woolworths or Wesfarmers (owner of Coles) retail entity. See our interactive Duopoly chart to find out more about the retail brands they own.  [source]
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image Child Labour Scorecard data added  — 13th Aug 2013

We have added assessment data from German website Active Against Child Labour, which rates companies on their corporate policies against child labour, production monitoring and accusations of child labour. As a result Ferrero, Lavazza, Melitta and Pelikan have received criticisms in our database for the first time, giving them a 'cross' rating.  [source]
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image Behind the Brands Scorecard data added  — 24th Mar 2013

Oxfam's new Behind the Brands Scorecard assesses the agricultural sourcing policies of the world's 10 largest food and beverage companies. It exclusively focuses on publicly available information that relates to the policies of these companies on their sourcing of agricultural commodities from developing countries. Seven companies in our database now have shiny new criticisms, including General Mills, Kellogg's and Mars.  [source]
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image Climate Counts scores updated  — 6th Dec 2012

Climate Counts compares companies on their commitment to tackling global warming. Updated company scores were released on Dec 2012.   [source]
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image New print guide is here!  — 20th Nov 2012

The new edition of our popular print guide is here. 'The Guide to Ethical Supermarket Shopping' is completely revised and updated, with the new branding of 'Shop Ethical!'. This new edition includes new company ownership charts, improved categorisation, new blurbs, and lots of tips for shopping beyond the supermarket.  [source]
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image The Guide to Ethical Supermarket Shopping 2012  — 30th Oct 2011

The 2012 edition of the Guide to Ethical Supermarket Shopping will be released in mid-November with special features on Beauty, Toys, Meat and Beer. In anticipation, we have substantially reduced the prices on the 2011 edition. We are also taking pre-orders for the 2012 edition. Our SHOP page has plenty of other goodies to help you match your purchases with your values too. Start your Christmas shopping early.  [source]
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image New methodology rules  — 26th May 2011

We have introduced two new rules to our assessment methodology: (1) if a company has praises and no criticisms, but does have minor criticisms (listed under information), the company's rating is downgraded from a full tick to a light tick. For example Bonne Bell get a full praise for being cruelty free, but their overall rating is a light tick, as they receive a minor criticism for rating poorly on EWG's Cosmetics Safety Database. (2) Company ratings are limited to a light tick if that company has an annual revenue of exceeding one billion dollars. This is consistent with our approach of supporting small local businesses over large multinationals.  [source]
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image Assessment system upgrade  — 24th May 2011

A major assessment system upgrade has been completed on the ethical.org.au website. Our new colour-coded icons reveal a much greater depth of information. At a glance you can see the category (Environment, Social, Animals, Business Ethics) and weighting (Praise, Lesser Praise, Minor Praise, Criticism, Lesser Criticism, Minor Criticism, Boycott Call, Neutral) assigned to each assessment item. This 8 tier weighting system is a significant improvement on our previous 4 tier system.  [source]
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image Cosmetics section expanded  — 23rd May 2011

Good news for the ladies: Our Cosmetics section has grown. We've added 100 cosmetics and skin care brands to our database, which you can see right now on our website. Shampoo and several other personal care product types have also been expanded.  [source]
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image Assessment data updated  — 24th Mar 2011

Our assessment database has had a significant update. Some dead weblinks have been fixed, a bunch of aging data has been removed, data from the FREE2WORK.org website has been added, plus other random bits and pieces. Our rating of a few companies changed. For owners of the 2011 edition of The Guide to Ethical Supermarket Shopping, be sure to check our Update Your Print Guide page:  [source]
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image Shop Ethical! iPhone app  — 22nd Feb 2011

The new Shop Ethical! iPhone app has just hit the App Store and is already #2 in the reference category. It features the latest data, a new 'favourites' section and a brand new look and feel.  [source]
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image The Ethical Christmas Resource Kit  — 8th Dec 2010

This resource kit explores some things you can do to make a difference with the way you celebrate this Christmas.  [source]
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image The Guide to Ethical Supermarket Shopping 2011 is out now!  — 1st Dec 2010

This new edition is completely revised and updated. We've added 250 brands, 50 companies, 5 product types and a brand new section on agribusiness.   [source]
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image New Shop page  — 1st Dec 2010

Our new online shop is now online with other ethical goodies on offer as well as the new Guide to Ethical Supermarket Shopping 2011.  [source]
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image Issues section upgraded  — 12th Aug 2010

We have overhauled the Issues section on our website. Several of the blurbs have been updated, plus there's 7 new ones including Overfishing, BPA and the High Cost of Animal Products.  [source]
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image The Ethical Consumer Guide joins facebook  — 8th Aug 2010

Come and join the conversation at our new facebook page.  [source]
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image Shop Ethical! iPhone app v1.2 released  — 2nd Aug 2010

The first major update of our popular Shop Ethical! iPhone app has just been released. What's new in version 1.2? Updated data; more intuitive navigation; Share through Facebook, Twitter or email; ownership tree display improved; blurbs on Important Issues under Get Informed; improved sort order in tables; various bug fixes; compatible with iOS 4.0; and more. This is a free update for all Shop Ethical! owners.  [source]
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image New navigation bar on www.ethical.org.au  — 28th Jun 2010

We have made some changes our navigation bar. Check out our new Spread the Word and Household Action Challenge pages under GET INVOLVED, as well as our new improved News area, now with RSS.  [source]
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image Labelling survey - Take action  — 11th May 2010

As part of the Ethical Consumer Group's submission for the Food Labelling Review, due on Friday 14th May, we have put together this quick survey to assess what are the important issues for you in making an informed choice about your food purchases. We hope to ascertain: 1) consumer concerns in relation to adequate labelling of food products, and 2) the usefulness of present labelling. Please take a minute to fill in our survey.  [source]
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image New online database now includes Alcohol and Office Supplies  — 16th Feb 2010

We've also completed a major upgrade of our assessment data, and introduced a more detailed ratings system.  [source]
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image The Shop Ethical! iPhone app is now available  — 12th Feb 2010

For those of you with an iPhone or iPod Touch, you can now get the Guide as an app! You'll never forget to bring the Guide to the supermarket again.  [source]
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image The 2010 Guide to Ethical Supermarket Shopping is now available  — 10th Feb 2010

To help you navigate through the issues connected to your everyday purchases, we've not only updated company information, but also added a more detailed rating system, new blurbs, and two new categories ' Alcohol and Office Supplies.  [source]
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Campaigns / Victories

image 2015 Australian Fashion Report  — 22nd Apr 2015

The 2015 Australian Fashion Report (www.behindthebarcode.org.au) examines 59 apparel companies collectively supplying more than 200 clothing brands in Australia and graded them on their policies, transparency, supply chain traceability and worker rights. The report revealed 91% of businesses did not know where their cotton is sourced, 75% did not know the source of their fabrics, and the report shows many businesses are still exploiting workers. The report by Baptist World Aid Australia places Lowes, Best & Less and the Just Group among the worst performers.  [source]
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image Greenpeace and tissue giant Kimberly-Clark: from enemies to allies  — 8th Jul 2014

Erica Gies talks to directors from the NGO and the paper manufacturer about their frenemy stance, and how they learned to just `take the call` with humour and honest communication.

Ten years ago, Greenpeace launched `Kleercut: wiping away ancient forests`, a campaign to draw attention to paper goods giant Kimberly-Clark`s practice of felling ecologically important boreal forests in Canada. At the time, the company, which manufactures Kleenex, already had a sustainability strategy that included protecting some forest, sourcing pulp from sawmill waste, and engaging third-party certification. But Greenpeace, claiming that the devil was in the details, labeled the company a greenwasher.

It looked like a classic fight between an international mega-corporation and a hardline NGO. But in 2009, the two enemies made peace. Kimberly-Clark agreed to increase its use of recycled fiber, to use only Forest Stewardship Council certified wood, and to stop purchasing pulp from the 3m hectare Kenogami and Ogoki forests in northern Ontario that were the focus of Greenpeace`s campaign.   [source]
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image Kellogg's vows to 'deforestation-free' palm oil  — 24th Feb 2014

Human rights concerns embedded in shareowner action on climate change can be found in a resolution filed this year by Green Century Capital Management, requesting that Kellogg's, one of the world's largest food processing companies, commit to sourcing only deforestation-free palm oil. Green Century announced this week that it has withdrawn the resolution after Kellogg's agreed to source only deforestation-free palm oil, with a target date to do so of Dec. 31, 2015. Kellogg's agreement, by which it will adhere to the following three principles, includes a commitment to human rights:  [source]
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image Petition Targets Kellogg's Wilmar Partnership  — 1st Aug 2013

SumOfUs.org says it will hand-deliver a petition to Kellogg asking the company to end its partnership with Wilmar International Limited, unless Wilmar agrees to change its practices. The group charges that Wilmar's palm-oil trading practices, and the palm oil industry in general, have had a "devasting" deforestation impact on South Asian forests. Wilmar, Asia's leading agribusiness group, ranked last among Newsweek's 500 most sustainable companies (receiving a worse 'green score' than Exxon Mobil, Monsanto and China Coal).  [source]
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image Tasmania to phase out cage hens and sow stalls  — 21st May 2012

The Tasmanian Government has announced it will phase out cage egg production, and speed up the phase out of sow stalls at piggeries (from 2017 to mid-2013). No new cage egg farms will be allowed in the State, and a range of actions will be explored in a bid to increase non-cage egg production and phase out battery hen operations. The European Union banned battery hens at the start of this year.  [source]
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image Bobby calf cruelty  — 31st Jan 2011

Most people aren't aware that in order to produce milk, dairy cows are kept almost continually pregnant. Each year in Australia 700,000 unwanted calves (known as ''bobby calves'') are sent to slaughter in their first week of life so that milk can be harvested for human consumption. Now the industry wants to legalise the withholding of liquid food from these unwanted calves for the last 30 hours of their lives as they are trucked and prepared for slaughter. Visit the Animals Australia website to see how you can help.  [source]
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image Safe Sunscreen Guide update  — 3rd Dec 2010

Friends of the Earth Australia have released their latest Safe Sunscreen Guide. Some sunscreens sold in Australia have the potential to cause skin damage. They contain tiny particles (nanoparticles) which have not undergone safety testing and are not labelled. Which brands are nano-free?  [source]
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image Australia to go sow stall free by 2017.  — 18th Nov 2010

The Australian pig industry announced plans to phase out sow stalls by 2017. This follows Coles' announcement to phase out sow-stall pork products, including ham and bacon, from Australian and overseas suppliers by 2014.  [source]
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image Greenpeace update their Canned Tuna Guide  — 16th Jul 2010

Greenpeace's updated Canned Tuna Guide reveals which brands to buy, and which brands still source overfished species or use destructive fishing techniques. Since Greenpeace launched their first tuna ranking, Australian tuna brands have started to clean up their act. For the first time, Australians can buy a sustainable canned tuna brand ' Fish4Ever. Aldi and IGA have introduced sustainable seafood policies. Tuna brands play a key role in the overfishing crisis by selling us unsustainable tuna.   [source]
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image Unilever commits to sustainable sourcing of paper packaging  — 5th Jul 2010

Unilever has committed to sourcing 75 per cent of its paper and board packaging from sustainably managed forests or from recycled material by 2015, rising to 100 per cent by 2020. Unilever is the first global FMCG company to commit to sourcing all of its paper and board packaging from sustainably managed forests or recycled material within a clearly defined timeframe.  [source]
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image Nestle's palm oil pledge  — 17th May 2010

Following a two month campaign by Greenpeace, Nestle, the biggest food and drink company in the world, announced it was committing to stop using products that come from rainforest destruction. The new policy commits Nestle to identify and exclude companies from its supply chain that own or manage 'high risk plantations or farms linked to deforestation'. This would apply to notorious Sinar Mas, a palm oil and paper supplier that Greenpeace has repeatedly caught destroying the rainforest - if it fails to meet Nestle's new criteria - and also have implications for Cargill, one of Nestle's palm oil suppliers which purchases from Sinar Mas.  [source]
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image Fairtrade Dairy Milk chocolate hits Australian shelves  — 8th Apr 2010

In a huge milestone for the Fairtrade movement, Cadbury Dairy Milk milk chocolate is now Fairtrade Certified and starting to hit shelves across both Australia and New Zealand. However the new Fairtrade Dairy Milk will not contain only Fairtrade ingredients. Instead, Cadbury (owned by Kraft) purchases "an amount of Fairtrade Certified cocoa and sugar equivalent to that required to make the Cadbury Dairy Milk milk chocolate products carrying the Fairtrade Label". The end result for cocoa farmers in Ghana is the same either way.  [source]
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image Greenpeace targets Nestle in palm oil campaign  — 17th Mar 2010

Greenpeace launched a campaign in March 2010 asking Nestle to stop buying palm oil from Sinar Mas, who is trashing Indonesian rainforests, threatening the livelihoods of local people and pushing orang-utans towards extinction.  [source]
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image Greenpeace release Canned Tuna Guide  — 5th Mar 2010

The biggest selling seafood item in Australia is canned tuna. As supermarkets sell more and more of this profitable product, tuna stocks are in a critical condition. Supermarkets play a key role in the overfishing crisis by selling us overfished tuna. It's time they take responsibility. Greenpeace's Canned Tuna Guide exposes the supermarkets selling us overfished species or using destructive fishing techniques.  [source]
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image Green & Black's to go Fairtrade in 2010  — 28th Jan 2010

Green & Black's has announced plans to go Fairtrade Certified across most of its block chocolate and beverages range this year [more]. Soon after this announcement, Cadbury (who own Green & Black's) was bought by Kraft. It is unknown whether Kraft will continue with Cadbury's push to increase it's range of Fairtrade chocolate.  [source]
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image Unilever palm oil victory  — 11th Dec 2009

Unilever has altered it's palm oil supply chain after Greenpeace presented them with a new report on Sinar Mas, an Indonesian conglomerate with extensive interests in both the palm oil and pulp and paper sectors. A Unilever spokesman said that the claims were 'too serious for us to ignore' and they have stopped buying palm oil from Sinar Mas.   [source]
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image WWF Palm Oil Buyers Scorecard 2009  — 28th Oct 2009

From lipstick to ice cream, and even some breads and biscuits, palm oil is used in a variety of products we purchase every day. But the true cost of palm oil is being paid in high-biodiversity tropical rainforests, which continue to be cleared for ever expanding oil palm plantations. WWF's Scorecard is an assessment of the palm oil purchasing practices of major European companies that produce and sell everyday consumer products.  [source]
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image 2010 Truefood Guide  — 28th Oct 2009

Greenpeace Australia have released the new 2010 Truefood Guide. It includes even more food and beverage brands, as well as incorporating the alcoholic beverages edition we launched earlier this year. It also sees leading brands Nestle, Foster's, Schweppes and Lindt shift to GE-free.  [source]
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image Nestle boycott over Mugabe averted  — 4th Oct 2009

The South African civil rights initiative, AfriForum, launched an international campaign calling on people to boycott all Nestle products, unless Nestle decided by 7 October 2009 to stop buying milk from Grace Mugabe - wife of the Zimbabwean dictator, Robert Mugabe. From 4 October 2009, Nestle stopped buying any milk from Grace Mugabe.  [source]
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image Cadbury Dairy Milk to go Fairtrade in 2010  — 26th Aug 2009

Cadbury's plans to achieve Fairtrade certification on their Dairy Milk chocolate by Easter 2010. The UK confectioner, which launched Fairtrade Dairy Milk in Britain and Ireland earlier this year, advised that they would extend their commitment to Australia, New Zealand, Japan and Canada.   [source]
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image Cadbury takes palm oil out  — 17th Aug 2009

Consumers secured an important victory with Cadbury reversing its previous decision to put palm oil in its dairy milk chocolate. This will include all dairy milk chocolate made in Australia and New Zealand.   [source]
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image Palm oil labelling campaign  — 16th Aug 2009

Zoos Victoria has launched it's Don't Palm Us Off campaign, which is pushing for Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) to change legislation to have palm oil labelled on all food products. Sign the petition here to tell FSANZ that you want the choice!  [source]
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image Greenpeace Ends Its "Kleercut" Campaign - Kimberley-Clark Boycott is over!  — 5th Aug 2009

Kimberly-Clark, the largest tissue company in the world and maker of Kleenex and Huggies, has committed to sourcing 100% of the wood fiber for its products from environmentally responsible sources. By the end of 2011 Kimberly-Clark will no longer use any pulp cut from endangered forests; instead they will increase the company's use of FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) certified pulp and recycled fiber globally.  [source]
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image Bottled Water Alliance victories  — 9th Jul 2009

The Bottled Water Alliance is an Australian campaign run by "Do Something", aimed at reducing bottled water use in Australia. Recent victories include:* NSW Government is to place a ban on all agencies and departments buying bottled water.* The NSW rural town, Bundanoon, has become Australia's first bottled water free town.   [source]
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Ownership Changes

image McCormick buys Reckitt Benckiser Group's food division  — 21st Jul 2017

Reckitt Benckiser Group has entered into an agreement to sell its food business to McCormick & Company for $4.2 billion.

McCormick will retain the leading brand names of French's, Frank's RedHot and Cattlemen's.

See more about McCormick at the Shop Ethical! company page. [source]

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image L'Oreal sells The Body Shop to Brazil's Natura  — 13th Jun 2017

The Body Shop ownership battle is over with Brazil's Natura winning with an unlikely 1 billion euro bid.

Natura is best known as the owner of the Aesop brand of natural-based cosmetics.

The ownership change has brought up The Body Shop's rating from an F to an A.  [source]
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image SABMiller acquired by AB InBev  — 6th Oct 2016

SABMiller shareholders have backed a multi-billion dollar takeover by brewer AB InBev. Shareholders voted overwhelmingly in favour, with 95.5% of minority investors approving the deal, providing a clear victory for AB InBev. The deal is expected to be complete by 10 October.

The takeover will mean that AB InBev, which is already the world's largest brewer, will sell one in four beers worldwide. This includes beer and cider brands owned by Carlton & United Breweries including Cascade, Strongbow, Stella Artois, Pure Blonde and Dirty Granny cider. The deal has dropped Carlton & United Breweries Shop Ethical! rating from a C to an F.

See more on the social and environmental track record of AB InBev at the Shop Ethical! company profile page.

  [source]
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image Changes to Shop Ethical! ratings  — 1st Sep 2016

There have been some company ownership changes in recent months, as well as some new information arising, that has resulted in us changing some company ratings. Unfortunately, they've nearly all gone backwards!
Here is a summary of the recent changes (they've all been updated on our website):
> Snack Brands Australia (who make CC's, Cheezels, Kettle and Samboy chips) is now foreign owned and their rating has slipped from A to C
> Pacific Brands (Bonds, Berlei, Sheridan) has been acquired by US giant Hanesbrands and their rating has dropped from C to F
> Gourmet Garden herbs is now foreign owned by McCormick and their rating has gone down to an F
> Integria Healthcare's rating dropped from a B to a D after it was reported that Thursday Plantation tests on animals
> Lush has dropped from an A to a C after it received a D rating in the Rank a Brand Cosmetics Report
> Patties Foods (Nanna's, Four 'N Twenty pies) has agreed to a $232 million takeover by Australian private equity firm Pacific Equity Partners. No rating change.   [source]
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image McCormick acquires Gourmet Garden  — 23rd Aug 2016

In April 2016 McCormick & Co acquired 100 per cent of the privately owned Botanical Food Company, that manufactures and sells the Gourmet Garden brand of packaged herbs in a tube. McCormick paid $150 million for the Queensland-based company.   [source]
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image Pacific Brands now owned by Hanesbrands  — 23rd Aug 2016

In June 2016 US clothing giant Hanesbrands bought iconic Australia company Pacific Brands for $1.1 billion. The deal gives Hanesbrands control of some of Australia's most popular underwear brands, such as Bonds and Berlei.  [source]
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image Fonterra offloads Tamar Valley to Parmalat  — 17th Dec 2015

The world's biggest dairy exporter, Fonterra, has sold its Australian yoghurt and dessert business for an undisclosed sum to shore up the profitability of its local operations and improve returns for farmers.

Fonterra will offload the yoghurt business, which includes the Tamar Valley and Ski brands, to Italian dairy giant Parmalat, which moves these products up the Shop Ethical ratings from an F to a C

Read more about Parmalat on their Shop Ethical! company page.

  [source]
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image PAS Group acquires Jets  — 1st Dec 2015

Australian swimwear label Jets has been snapped up by retail juggernaut The PAS Group.

The acquisition was reportedly funded by PAS's existing cash and a margin of its undrawn debt facility and is expected to be immediately earnings accretive.

PAS targeted the swim and activewear label due to its high margin business which records an EBIDTA to sales ratio in excess of 15% this year.

PAS CEO Eric Morris believes the acquisition will push the Jets brand further into the global market.

'Jets is a strong brand in Australia with a highly developed design, production and distribution infrastructure.

'It also enhances our presence in the rapidly growing activewear market and provides a platform for significant future growth.

'In Australia, there are opportunities to increase its retail footprint and expand its online presence.

The PAS Group currently owns and operates major Australian fashion retailers including Review and Metalicus  [source]
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image Freedom bulks up muesli credentials with $35m acquisition  — 23rd Oct 2015

Popina Foods, a market leader in oat-based cereals and snacks, is poised to be bought by ASX-listed good-for-you food company Freedom Foods for $35 million.

Demand for oats rising in Australia and Asia, according to Freedom Foods, and Popina is a recognised leader in cluster format cereals and snacks in Australia.

The company operates out of a 10,500 sqm facility in Dandenong, Victoria. It makes a quarter of its sales from its own brands, Arnold's Farms and Goodness Superfoods, and the rest from its contract manufacturing operations.

The company was founded by Arnold May in 1983. Operating out of a shop front in inner Melbourne, he initially toasted muesli in small oven, blended it in a cement mixer and sold it to a few health stores. Thirty two years later, and Popina now holds more than a third of the Australian muesli market.

See more about the companies behind your breakfast products at the Shop Ethical! food and drink comparison page.

  [source]
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image Dell to buy EMC in $67 billion  — 12th Oct 2015

Computer-maker Dell Inc struck a deal on Monday to buy data storage company EMC Corp for $67 billion, setting a record in the technology industry, as it tries to transform itself into a giant in the fast-growing market for managing and storing corporate data.

The acquisition, the year's third-largest in all sectors, highlights the frenzy of dealmaking sweeping the economy, as big or mature companies take advantage of low interest rates to buy rivals as a way to spur growth.

The deal should help privately held Dell, the world's No. 3 computer maker, diversify from a stagnant consumer PC market and give it greater scale in the more profitable and faster-growing market for cloud-based data services.

That desire to reach beyond PCs - whose growth has been stopped in its tracks with the rise of mobile devices - echoes moves by Dell's big rivals. Hewlett-Packard Co, the No. 2 PC maker, is splitting off its computer and printer unit this year to focus on the corporate data business. IBM Corp sold its PC unit a decade ago.

By combining Dell's server businesses with EMC's storage and virtualization assets, the new, enlarged company will have a broader range of products to challenge Cisco Systems Inc, IBM and Hewlett-Packard in the areas of cloud computing, mobility and cyber security.

See more about the companies behind your brew at Shop Ethical! beer comparison page.

  [source]
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