Update. May 2013

Recycling wars

Since May 5, Greenpeace's “Stop Coca-Cola trashing Australia” video has received almost 1 million views. However free-to-air television channels 7, 9, 10 and SBS have all declined to broadcast the group's anti- Coca- Cola, pro-recycling ad. The 'recycling wars' went virtual as Coca-Cola bought the top advertising slot for searches of the environmental group's name.

Palm oil – label it!

It is estimated that within 10 years 98% of the rainforests of Indonesia and Malaysia will be gone unless there is a halt the continuing growth of palm oil plantations. According to some estimates, an area the size of Greece is cleared every year for palm oil plantations.

Check out a new report giving a thorough and independent overview of the facts, issues and challenges surrounding palm oil. Net Balance's 'Palm Oil in Australia' report has been commissioned by WWF-Australia and the Australian Food and Grocery Council (AFGC).

Also Choice magazine have just released their updated report on ‘Palm oil labelling‘. It identifies that most major food producers use palm oil but label it as vegetable oil. The EU, the US and Canada all require palm oil to be labelled.

> Sign the petition on labeling at Change.org. > See more on what you can do.

Bangladesh – safety pact?

Australian retailers Woolworths, Kmart and Target are facing threats of a consumer boycott after declining to sign an international agreement to improve fire safety and working conditions in Bangladesh, one month on from the collapse of the Rana Plaza garment factory which resulted in the deaths of 1100 workers.

K-Mart and Target are owned by Wesfarmers Ltd, who, with $58.9 billion in 2012 revenue, rank 21 among the world's largest retailers. Woolworths Ltd, with $56.7 billion, rank 18. Their ethical sourcing policies are here , here and here respectively.

Power actually does equal responsibility. They may need reminding.
> Sign the petition here
> Vote with your dollars when buying clothes. See our guide to ethical clothing > More on the safety pact  

Avoid Food Waste - June 5th

This year’s World Environment Day has the theme of food waste and sustainable consumption. Roughly one third of the food produced in the world for human consumption every year — approximately 1.3 billion tonnes — gets lost or wasted. To get some insight into this reality in Australia, see Hungry Beast and George Negus Report (2011).

There's some simple things you can do:
  • Buy locally – reduce food miles – find food close to you at farmers’ markets, food swaps, coops. Check what's nearby to you on the Local Harvest map.
  • Compost food waste - see Going Green Solutions for composting solutions, bokashi bins, and biodegradable/compostable catering and packaging supplies.
  • If you regularly have excess food at your workplace, have charities collect and redistribute it - see Second Bite, Oz Harvest, Reap Food Rescue.
  • More ideas here.
Quick bites ...
  • Europe's recent ban on insecticides linked to bee death, has prompted action here in Australia (20/5/13) The Age. Sign petitions to the Federal Environment Minister, and Bunnings Warehouse to stop stocking neonicotinoids.
  • A new independant third-party certification body for genetically-modified-organism free foods - GMO-ID - has been launched in Australia. (20/5/13) AusFoodNews
  • Bill Oddie, of ‘The Goodies’ fame, speaks out on how HSBC bank clients have contributed to deforestation in the Malaysian state of Sarawak where less than 5% of rainforests are untouched by logging or plantations. See his amusing Bankwatch film and read ' Why I was chucked out of HSBC headquarters' (14/5/13). ... and for more ugly things about HSBC.
  • Consumer power saves Aussie company Spring Gully Foods from financial brink (24/4/13) Businessspectator
  • Craft beer brand 'Cricketers Arms' acquired by Independent Distillers, part of Asahi Group (24/4/13) SMH
  • French luxury giant LVHM buys 49% stake in iconic bush brand RM Williams but pledges to keep manufacturing in Australia. (15/4/13) SMH
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