View online September 2016
Ethical Update Everyday choices
to change your world

Life is Organic

'One of the problems with our food system is it's not very transparent. We're very far removed from farms and farmers. We really don't know what goes on.' ~ Michael Pollan (video)

Our
Ethical Shopper Action Calendar focus this month is 'Choose Organic'. Organic farmers aim to produce good food from a balanced living soil. They restrict the use of synthetic chemicals, pesticides and fertilisers, and drugs used in intensive livestock farming.

National Organic Week (17-25 September)

image Gardening Australia host 'Costa the Composter' is the Ambassador of National Organic Week (NOW). Here's your chance to find out more about the benefits of organic products and farming. Attend a NOW event near you, or vote in the Organic Consumers Choice Awards for your favourite product or business. Checkout the Australian Organics Directory for certified organic products.

'As consumers, you want food you can recognise and trust. Buying organic products supports food safety, health, good nutrition and the environment.' ~ Costa Georgiadis  

Be inspired to choose organic

image Growing numbers of farmers are seeing the benefits of improving soil health and moving beyond chemical solutions to resolve problems. Our Be Inspired pages this month showcase Captain Creek Organics, Barambah Organics and Powlett Hill Biodynamic Farm, as well as initiatives such as the Australian Organic Schools program to foster the next generation of organic farmers and consumers!

Australian worker exploitation uncovered

image There have been two new reports of systemic exploitation of Australian workers. The first concerns workers in retail and fast-food outlets, including Woolworths, Hungry Jack's and KFC, who are being underpaid more than $300 million a year through deals struck with the shop assistants union. Petrol station giant United Petroleum has also been investigated by the Fair Work Ombudsman for underpaying staff.  

Victoria bans fracking

image The Victorian government has banned unconventional gas mining. This is a huge win for rural communities campaigning over the last five years through the ‘lock the gate’ movement. Fracking is still a concern in other states however. In the Northern Territory over 80% of the land is covered in oil and gas exploration licences. > Sign this open letter to support a total ban on fracked shale gas in NT.  

Apple - tax evasion!

image The European Commission has found that Ireland's tax arrangements with Apple are illegal and that it owes the Irish government €13 billion. But that's not even the half of it. Apple has close to €200 billion in profits tucked away in offshore accounts. See Guardian article. (Also January report on Apple's Australian tax paid).
> Sign
this petition to tell Apple to pay up!  
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Changes to Shop Ethical! ratings

image Recent company ownership changes and new assessment information has resulted in notable down-grades to some company ratings, including: Pacific Brands (Bonds, Berlei, Sheridan), acquired by US giant Hanesbrands, dropped from C to F; Botanical Food (Gourmet Garden herbs), now owned by McCormick, down to F; Integria Healthcare dropped from B to a D after it was reported that Thursday Plantation tests on animals. See full list of ratings changes.   

Quick Bites

image\ Metcash set to buy Woolworths’ Home Timber and Hardware. Woolworths to close all Masters stores by Dec 2016. »  The Australian

image\ Sign this petition from the GM Free Australia Alliance calling for a freeze on all GM crops and food approvals in Australia. »  GM Free Australia Alliance

image\ Western Australia to establish its own container deposit scheme, offering 10c per plastic drink container returned for recycling. »  AusFood News

image\ Sign up for #PledgeAPlate - an OzHarvest initiative for individuals, schools and businesses to change food waste habits »  Oz Harvest

image\ 'Tackling Poverty, Transforming Communities' is the theme for the 2016 Ethical Enterprise Conference, held on the 20th of October. »  Moral Fairground

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