Christmas backup

christmas_guideDon’t be naughty this Christmas, buy nice. Rather than doing your Christmas shopping at the local mega-mart, use gift giving and festive meals to exercise your commitment to ethical shopping.  Christmas is an opportunity to shop ethically on a grand scale!


The festive meal is an opportunity to share your ethical shopping discoveries with your family. How about a free-range turkey with fresh vegetables from your local farmers market? Perhaps with beer from your favourite microbrewery, or a local organic wine.

13 things you can do:
1. eat less meat
‘Globally, farm animal production accounts for nearly one-fifth of human-created greenhouse gas emissions. This is more than the entire transportation sector.’ from High Cost of Animal Products, the Guide 2012

Actions: Reducing your meat and dairy consumption this Christmas is one of the most effective things you can do to reduce your environmental impact. You may even consider having a vegetarian or vegan Christmas meal.


2. choose free-range
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3. seeks out sustainable seafood
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4. look for organic produce
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5. choose fairtrade
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6. avoid the big two
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7. buy local
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8. avoid companies with a negative track-record
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9. go GE free
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10. go palm oil free
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11. minimise packaging
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12. choose local alcohol
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13. slow down
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With every meal, we have the opportunity to support a different food production system – one based on producing vibrant, healthy food with the well-being of people, animals and the land at heart.’ from Beyond the Supermarket, Shop Ethical! …the Guide




‘In factory farming, animals are raised using intensive ‘production line’ methods to maximise the amount of meat or eggs produced while minimising costs. It is characterised by close confinement in barren and unnatural conditions, and involves massive environmental pollution.’ from Factory Farming,,Shop Ethical! …the Guide


Actions: Most pig and poultry dervied products are factory farmed. Seek free range ham and turkey, chicken and eggs, and ‘accredited free range’ where possible. You might want to choose free-range eggs for that custard on the pudding.
  • See Retailer table below for Free Range produce.
  • Please note: ‘Bred free range‘ piglets are weaned at about 4 weeks and raised indoors in eco shelters. Unlike ‘accredited free range‘, which raise an animal that is free range for all of its life. Choose ‘accredited free range’ where possible.
VIC Fernleigh Free Range Fully Accredited Free Range hams, certified rare breed. Limited edition Christmas hams available. 0427 354 457
VIC Belmore Biodynamic Meats Free Range Turkey ; Christmas lunch Hamper 137 Miller Street, Thornbury 3071 03 9484 0469
VIC Leadoux Free range Turkeys. Family run business in Bairnsdale in Gippsland. Order direct (03) 51569224 or see outlets.
VIC John Cesters Poultry and Game Free-range local turkeys from Numurkah. Prahran market, 163 Commerical Rd Sth Yarra 9827 6111
VIC Wangara Poulty & Game Free Range , Organic, from range of local suppliers 1/321 Arden St, Kensington 9376 8188.
VIC Hagens Organic Biodynamic Meat ‘Bred Free Range’ ham from Otway Pork (Pastoral Pork Company); organic lamb, beef, poultry. (1) Queen Vic Market, Elizabeth St Melb; (2) Prahran market, 163 Commerical Rd Sth Yarra 9827 1899
VIC Bossy Boots ‘Bred Free Range’ ham from Western Plains Pork 106 Bat Street, Brighton 9596 6825
VIC Replete Providore ‘Bred Free Range’ ham from Western Plains Pork 302 Barkers Road, Hawthorn 9818 4448
VIC Istra Smallgoods ‘Bred Free Range’ ham from Western Plains Pork 36 Wheelers Hill Road, Musk 5384 3382
VIC Organic Direct Organic & free range meat – Beef, Lamb, Chicken & Duck. Delivered Melbourne. 0401 422 180
NAT Lilydale Chicken Free Range chicken, certified by FREPA 1300 137 372 Pendle Hill NSW See Stockists
NSW Vic’s Meat Free range turkeys from John Meredith Free Range farm in the Thirlmere region of the Southern Tablelands of NSW 10 Merchant Street, Mascot NSW 2020, 02 2 9317 6900
NSW The Freerange Butcher Free-Range Shop 12, 5 Hillcrest Road
Pennant Hills
QLD The Meat-ting Place organic free-range chicken from Inglewood Farms; Australian Organic Meats beef & lamb; BFA certified organic lamb by Pats Organic of Roma ; Gooralie Free-Range Pork near Goondiwindi, on Darling Downs; Chemical Free Queensland Wild Barramundi caught in the Gulf of Carpentaria; Bendele Farm Organic Poultry Ducks in Kilkivan ; Free Range, chemical free Turkeys from Dakota Vale Farm in the Gympie area (1) Shop 6/7 North West Plaza, 97 Flockton St, McDowall, 07 3353 8541 ; (2) Shop 3B Paddington Central, 107 Latrobe Tce Paddington 07 3369 9522
SA Minniribbie farm free-range pork for South Australia from the famous heritage breed Berkshire pig. (08) 86854477 40 Snapper Hill Rd
WA The Naked Butcher Free Range, Local, Organic beef, lamb, pork, turkey and chicken. 9295 1067 Shop 5, 7145 Great Eastern Highway
Mundaring, Perth
WA Mt Barker Free Range Chicken Free Range chicken. 08 9435 3610 Welshpool DC See stockists




‘Demand for fish & seafood has doubled over the past 30 years, seeing three quarters of the world’s oceans over-exploited, depleted or fished right up to their limit. Often we’re eating rare or endangered ocean species without realising it. ‘Bycatch’ — fish caught unintentionally — often sees up to 15 tonnes of discarded fish per tonne of targeted seafood..’ from Overfishing, Shop Ethical! …the Guide


Actions: Avoid the following seafood and fish species. Orange Roughy, Tuna, Blue Grenadier, Atlantic Salmon, Striped Marlin, Toothfish, Swordfish, Hake, Oreodory, Skates and rays, Prawns, Sharks. They’re on Greenpeace’s ‘Red list’. Find out why here.
Some species considered ‘better buy’ by the Australian Marine Conservation Society Four at the top of this list are Whiting, Bream, Flathead and Calamari. Check out more here.
Canned Tuna. It’s the biggest selling seafood item in Australia yet tuna stocks are in a critical condition. If you need to buy tuna, choose Fish4Ever brand that tops the list on Greenpeace’s Canned Tuna guide.



‘Organic systems recognise that our health is connected to the health of our food and therefore the health of the soil. Organic farmers severely restrict the use of synthetic chemicals, pesticides and fertilisers.’ from Organics-better for the planet, from Shop Ethical! …the Guide.


Actions: Have organic vegetables in you dinner but remember, the words ‘orgainc’ in a product label do not guarenttee that farming practice meets any specific crtiteria. Always look for certified produce. Common labels include BFA, ACO, NAASA, Demeter (biodynamic).





‘About 70 per cent of the cocoa beans used to make the world’s chocolate comes from West Africa. Many cocoa farms in this area use child labour. The Ivory
Coast has an estimated 300,000 children working in dangerous conditions; more than half are under 14 years old. The work includes spraying pesticides,
using machetes and carrying heavy loads..’
from Child Labour & Chocolate, Shop Ethical! …the Guide


Actions: Go for ‘fairtrade’ chocolate and coffee this Christmas. It tastes better.



‘Australia has one of the most concentrated grocery markets in the world. Woolworths and Wesfarmers (owner of Coles) account for almost 80 per cent of supermarket sales.’ from Supermarkets in Australia, Shop Ethical! …the Guide


Actions: Look to shop at independent supermarkets such as IGA and Foodworks over Coles and Woolworths if possible, or even better, farmers markets, food co-ops, wholefood stores and independent grocers.When buying alcohol, buy from small retailers and look for independent brands. Woolworths and Coles between them currently control over 50% of total alcohol retail in Australia – up from 32% just 5 years ago. They also own many private label wine brands.


‘A typical Melbourne shopping basket has traveled a staggering 70,000 kilometers – equivalent to almost two trips around the world. Buy purchasing an orange grown in Mildura rather than ‘California’, you reduce food miles from 12,879 km to 567 kms.’ from Buying Local- Good Food Milage,Shop Ethical! …the Guide


Actions: Seek out alternatives closer to home. Ham often comes from Canada, Denmark or the United States, travelling about 15,000kms. (Imports from these countries account for 64 per cent of processed pork consumed in Australia). Living in Melbourne and choosing trout or salmon from Buxton would reduce the travel to 200kms.Make your own dessert using local ingredients. Whether it be a Christmas cake or pudding or the Aussie Pavlova, here’s a chance to source ingredients close to home. Look for ingredients labelled ‘Product of Australia’ first and ‘Made in Australia’ next. ‘Made in Australia from local and imported ingredients’ means it has more local than imported.
You might want to make something using fruit that’s in season, or pick your own fruit from a local fruit tree or at a PYO farm.


‘Every time we buy something, the money we spend endorses a company and its activities, whether we are aware of it or not. Companies need our money to stay in business — money talks, and your dollar literally is your vote.’ from INTRODUCTION – , page 1, the Guide 2012‘Out of the top 100 brands of all food sold in Australian supermarkets, just 16 are Australian owned, and these are owned by just nine companies.’ from Multinational Monooply, Shop Ethical! …the Guide


Actions: Give the little guys a break this Christmas. Support Australian owned local manufacturers and avoid multinationals, especially companies with a negative track record. Use the Guide to find a best buy. So, for example, when looking for soft drinks this Christmas, by choosing Bickford’s over Deep Spring you’re supporting an Australian owned company with a positive track record. See Soft Drinks comparison page.


‘Concerns over genetically engineered (GE) food include unknown health risks, threats to biodiversity, contamination of conventional and organic crops, and control over our food by multinational chemical companies who legally own the patents on the technology.’ from Genetic Engineering, Shop Ethical! …the Guide


Actions: Avoid food that could be genetically engineered by checking the ‘Greenpeace True Food Guide’ for all brands guaranteed GE-free by their manufacturer . An example could be using Crisco cooking oil over another brand to roast your Christmas dinner vegetables.


‘Palm oil is found in 1 in 10 supermarket products including shampoos, chocolate, cosmetics, and biscuits. The UN estimates that palm oil plantations are ‘now the primary cause of permanent rainforest loss’. This threatens the survival of the orangutans, the Sumatran tiger and the Asian rhinoceros. from Palm Oil , Shop Ethical! …the Guide


Actions: Avoid products containing palm oil where possible. See ‘Helping you buy responsibly’ section of the BOS Australia website for products that do not contain palm oil. An example may be when looking for dry biscuits for the Christmas cheese and fruit platter, you may choose Fantastic Snacks seaweed flavoured rice crackers or Roccas Deli Gourmet crackers over others.


‘Australia produces more than 3.4 million tonnes of packaging every year — that’s about 165kg per person — and only 48 per cent is recycled.’ from Packaging & Waste, Shop Ethical! …the Guide,


Actions: Don’t forget to take your reusable shopping bag. Buy in bulk to minimise packaging waste.Doing a picnic in the park? BYO plates and cutlery or use biodegradable plant-based items, available from Going Green Solutions.


‘… SABMiller’s purchase of Fosters for A$9.9 billion…. UK-based SABMiller is the world’s second largest brewer (after Anheuser-Busch InBev) and is 27 per cent owned by tobacco giant Altria. Fosters is Australia’s largest brewer. Australia’s second largest brewer, Lion, has been wholly-owned by Japan’s Kirin since 2009.from Who’s big in beer?, Shop Ethical! …the Guide


Actions: When buying beer, support one of Australia’s 100+ microbreweries. With exception of the family owned Coopers Brewery, all of the large Australian breweries are now owned by either the Foster’s Group (bought by UK’s SAB Miller in 2011) or Lion Nathan (owned by Japan’s Kirin). See Beer company comparion page.


Overindulgence is often the hallmark of the day. Many of us are familiar with those “I gotta-lie-down” moments after dinner.
‘There are two ways to get enough. One is to continue to accumulate more and more. The other is to desire less. — GK Chesterton.’ from Shop Ethical! …the Guide .


Action : Try to plan your meal appropriately for the number of people eating to avoid the mountains of food waste. Compost the waste. If you haven’t got a system, now may be the time to add one to your wish list.


Slow down. Enjoy your food. The Slow Food Movement began in the 1970s as a response to the rapidly growing and smothering fast food culture. Slow food groups promote the joy of food, and increasing connections between producers and consumers.
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‘Every time you go shopping, make a difference: make your dollar count!.’ from Shop Ethical! …the Guide
It’s important that we ask ourselves why we celebrate at Christmas in the way we do. This includes our motivation for gift giving. What makes an ideal Christmas gift? Something the recipient likes? Something you like? Something that is useful? Something that is meaningful? Something that isn’t disposable? The perfect gift is likely a combination of all these things. There are different ways of doing gifts. Some require some time, energy and creativity. Others directly contribute to a positive environmental and social outcome. Where possible, plan your Christmas. That way you will avoid impulse buying those last minute gifts which are often discarded after a few days.Below we’ve listed some issues connected to your gifts and some examples of ‘good buys’. Start by asking what your friends and family value. What will be an enjoyable, meaningful or appreciated gift for them. What may help them on the journey towards a more sustainable and intentional way of living.You will find more ideas by searching the links for ideas here.


‘Three-quarters of the world’s toys are made in China. Working conditions have been improving, but serious labour violations continue. Toy workers have to work long days in the peak season without appropriate pay — often for more than 80 hours a week — well above China’s legal limit. Many factories impose fines for refusing and other misdemeanours’, such as missing a day’s work or spending too long on a toilet break.’ from Shop Ethical! …the Guide


Actions: Choose Australian made toys, available at websites such as,, Choose ‘China-free’ toys from companies such as Playmobil and Lego who manufacture most of their products in Europe. Check the company track-record for toy manufacturers and avoid those with significant criticisms.Toys last a lot longer than kids’ interest in them so keep them moving around. Tell everyone you’re happy to get hand-me-downs as presents. Seek out used toy in good condition on your local Freecycle, fairs, or online.sites such as ebay.
  Resources: See more issues relating to toys in Choice’s toy industry survey article (2008).


‘Avoid unnecessary consumption. About 80 per cent of products are discarded after a single use.’ from 5 Principles to guide a more sustainable purchase, Shop Ethical! …the Guide


For those keen to de-commercialse Christmas and respond in a meaningful way to the overconsumption that comes with Christmas, try a Buy Nothing Christmas. There’s a great Buy Nothing Catalogue and Buy Nothing Christmas Information Kit, both with lots of ideas.Here’s a few we love:
  • Give a home-made voucher to exchange for your time – cook a meal, do the garden, create a home compost or veggie garden, look after the kids, give a massage.
  • Make something yummy. For all those who can bake.
  • Make something crafty. For all those who can knit, sew, spin, pot.
  • Make your own something incredibly original.

And along with the theme…

  • The Gift of Nothing. A very cool book. Mooch the cat desperately wants to find a gift for his friend Earl the dog, but Earl already has everything. “What do you give a guy who has everything?” Mooch wonders. The answer, of course, is nothing! Available online.
  • Have a movie screening. “What would Jesus Buy?” follows Reverend Billy and the Church of Stop Shopping Gospel Choir as they go on a cross-country mission to save Christmas from the Shopocalypse. Available through our soon to be up and running movie library. Contact us if you’d like to borrow it

Buy less. If your family is up for it, do a a Kris Kringle — where each person only buys one present each. Choose who you give to via names out of a hat and set a limit for how much you have to spend.


‘Every purchase makes an impact, therefore your choice makes a difference.’ from 5 Principles to guide a more sustainable purchase, Shop Ethical! …the Guide


Check out our Top Ethical Gift ideas.
Also the extremely good ‘Peak Oil Gift Buying Guide‘, with a funny gallery by artist Jonathan Plotkin. It’s American but has some great ideas.

Below are further examples of ‘good’ buys.

People friendlyFairtrade – fair wages, no exploitation.
  • Etiko Fairtrade T-shirts “Love Revolutions ” “Wear no Evil”.
  • Jinta Fairtrade Sports balls
  • Ibutrade Bags and accessories
  • 3fish ethical clothing
  • Cocolo Fairtrade Chocolate

See more and buy direct at Only Just fair-trade online shop,
or Tribes and Nations.

Some people are weighed down with stuff. Others don’t have the essential stuff they need. Buy a goat for your mum.

Energy efficiencyPortable device solar charger, Dynamo/solar powered radio. Available from Eco at Home
Also see other eco shops: Grassroots Ecostore / Earth Heartbeat shop / Todae
Reducing waste

  • Fregie Sack. Rewashable, reusable, durable alternative to the common plastic bags used attable grocery shops. Available at our online shop
  • Enviro Toothbrush. Made from Bamboo, totally biodegradable. From Go Green at Home.

Reusing waste

  • See Green Collect Upcycled products, including bags, cushions, note & journal books. Handmade in Melbourne from discarded materials & clothing. Made by the African Women’s Sewing Group and residents at Common Ground (people previously experiencing long-term homelessness), both training and employment initatives of Green Collect.
  • Keep Cup Reusable take-away cofee cup
  • Soap Nuts – natural, toxic- free, waste-free laundry detergent alternative. Go Green at Home.
  • Wozwaste. Bags made from inner tube, toothpaste tube, snack food packaging.
Plastic – free

Give an experience

  • Movie, theatre, adventure, pamper, gourmet treat. Take your loved one’s out. Make it your own customised gift, or do a package
Knowledge to Action Equip your gift recipients with the ‘know-how’ of how to live well.

Further explore the ethical and environmental implications of your food choices. By Angela Crocombe. From shop. Local food advocate Sarah Robins journeys across Victoria, introducing you to the varied and vibrant people who put food on our table. With more than 80 seasonal recipes. From shop.

See more books relating to sustainability, justice and ethical lifestyle.
Good Life Book Club
/ New Internationalist


  • Get the guide. Great useful Christmas stocking items. Discounts for bulk orders.
More Sustinable Christmas ideas from Baptist World Aid.





‘Remember the waste hierarchy — first avoid if you can, reuse where possible, then recycle..’ from Packaging and waste, Shop Ethical! …the Guide



  • Don’t go for disposable – keep them to last for years to come.
  • Tinsel and trinkets – make your own .Try edible decorations of dried fruit or popcorn on a string. Popular with the kids.
  • Decorations with an ethical edge.


  • Turn off lights when not being viewed.
  • Look for products using LEDs instead of traditional bulbs – they last 10 times longer and dramatically reduce power use.

There are lots of options to the plastic tree (made from PVC – toxic when recycled) or non-native pine which is grow in grown in dense monoculture plantations that require high inputs of chemicals and water.
  • Try a potted plant, maybe a local native. See
  • The Australian Black Pine (right) is drought tolerant, looks good all year round, doesn’t mind life in a pot, and make a great Christmas tree.
  • Buy a Christmas tree and support Oxfam Australia




Shop Ethical! – The Guide To Ethical Supermarket Shopping 2014
This pocket-sized guide will help you avoid naughty companies and support nice ones all year round. Over 120,000 copies sold! Ask Santa to slip one in your stocking this Christmas.

Keep up to date on who owns what, and who is doing what. Completely revised and updated. This new edition includes ownership charts mapping the dominant food & drink companies operating in Australia, and a special focus on alternatives ‘beyond the supermarket’. There are many ways that you can make a difference with your everyday purchases. [more]

So why do it differently this Christmas?It’s easy to become lost up in the busyness, anxiety and the frenzy of over-consumption at Christmas time. How do we reclaim the essence of Christmas? … more


Do it differently this Christmas!

I buy. I wrap. I give. I get. I get caught up. It’s easy to become lost up in the busyness, anxiety and the frenzy of over-consumption at Christmas time.

So how do we reclaim the essence of Christmas? One that reframes relationships as being more important than possessions and quality time more significant than the rush. One that recognises that all our purchasing choices are connected to wider issues in the world and there is a story behind all the things we buy and receive.

This guide explores some things you can do to make a difference with the way you celebrate this Christmas. There are many positive choices you can make for the health of the planet, your community, and yourself.

It may be buying a ham that hasn’t travelled halfway around the globe to get to you, or choosing a non-factory farmed turkey. Perhaps you could choose coffee where the owner of the company has guaranteed a fair wage to the plantation workers, or seafood that has been fished in a sustainable manner. You can also avoid companies with a negative track record, and find good gift alternatives that minimise waste.


There are options for better buys within the supermarket and department store. Yet at the same time, the real answers are in supporting alternatives beyond. We’ve tried to give you a sense of what to look for, but also outlined some resources to help you where to find local, free range, organic, sustainable and waste free options.

Remember to focus on one issue at a time. Your choices do make a difference, but at the same time it’s no use being overwhelmed. Do what you can with the resources available.

This Christmas guide is designed as a companion to our Shop Ethical – the guide to Ethical Supermarket Shopping print guide and referenced throughout with links to the website.

We recommend you grab some print copies of our supermarket guide to give to friends and family this Christmas. It’s a good way of speading the message and equiping people to make a difference in the preparation for Christmas.

All the best in having a great day and making it count this Christmas.

More on ethical Christmas: