Update. farewell October 2011

Collaborative Consumption ... Slavery Footprint ... Organics ... Pulpwatch ... Toys & China

Here’s a slightly belated October update - somewhat late as we’ve been working to complete the 2012 edition of our Guide to Ethical Supermarket Shopping. It’s almost here, ready for Christmas, with fully updated company assessments, and special features on toys, cosmetics, meat, and beer. You can pre-order it online. See an excerpt on toys from the new guide below.

Great gifts - discount guides ...


In anticipation of the mid-November release of the 2012 edition of the Guide to Ethical Supermarket Shopping, we have drastically reduced the prices on the 2011 edition.

Our SHOP page has plenty of other goodies to help you match your purchases with your values. www.ethical.org.au/shop

What's mine is yours...


Would you trust a stranger to drive your car, or sleep in your house? Thousands of people say 'yes' they would. They're part of the collaborative consumption movement, named by Time magazine as one of the top 10 trends to watch. It's all about doing some very old fashioned things like swap, barter, and trade but using social technologies to do it. eBay, Craigslist, Zopa, CouchSurfing, Airbnb, Zipcar, RelayRides. It's happening on a scale never seen before. Collaborative Consumption is reinventing not just what people consume but how they consume it. More

How many slaves work for you?...


A few hundred years ago, it was easy to determine one’s slavery footprint: step out on the porch and count the laborers. Today, millions of slaves make your clothes, food and electronics, but they are hidden halfway around the world: Uzbek children pick cotton for your shirts, Brazilian men harvest your sugar cane, and Congolese boys mine the raw materials that end up in your smartphone. Check out Slavery Footprint which looks at the products you own and the regions where forced labor was employed in their production.

Why Organic?...


What is the difference between organic and non-organic honey? Milk? Meat? Clothing? The answers all lie within the newly launched free, downloadable consumer guide to the Australian Certified Organic Standard. The Standard is the most widely used in Australia encompassing the rules which apply to organic operators using the recognisable Australian Certified Organic logo, among others. Download the guide. More on organic.



For those who want to know a little more about the story behind your paper. Pulpwatch reveals the good, the bad, and the ugly in the pulp and paper industry. Pulpwatch.org is a map-driven interface that shows the best and worst mills in the world, with each assigned a rating in the areas of Forestry certification, Bleaching technology, Endangered forest, and Social conflicts. Check out how Australian Paper (maker of Reflex) go.

Focus on 'Toys & China' ...

(excerpt from 2012 Guide to Ethical Supermarket Shopping).

Many toys are produced in factories operating under sweatshop-like conditions. Despite protests, the industry continues to source toys from factories with documented labour and human rights violations.

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. chinalaborwatch.org

The ICTI CARE Process is the toy industry’s ethical manufacturing program aimed at ensuring safe and humane workplace environments for toy factory
workers worldwide. However, this process has been criticised by labour rights organisations.

What can you do?
» Choose Australian made toys, available at websites such as playtolearn.com.au, ecotoys.com.au, entropy.com.au, woodentoysaustralia.com.au
» Choose ‘China-free’ toys from companies such as Playmobil and Lego who manufacture most of their products in Europe.
» Toys last a lot longer than kids’ interest in them so keep them moving around. Pass them on to family and friends (and tell everyone you’re happy to get hand-me-downs as presents), join your local Freecycle, seek out used toy fairs, buy and sell used toys online or join a local toy library.

» Check the company track-record for toy manufacturers and avoid those with significant criticisms.
» See more issues relating to toys in Choice's toy industry survey article (2008).

Find good food - close to you! ...


Our new project – Local Harvest – is due for launch in February next year. It’s a great new resource for making local food choices beyond the supermarket. It includes a national directory for finding food co-ops, food swap meets, community gardens, farmers markets, box systems, pick-you-own farms and more. You'll be able to connect with growers as well as exploring DIY alternatives for food production in an urban setting. We're looking for people to be involved by helping out or spreading the word. Find out more at localharvest.org.au.


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To view this newsletter online go to www.ethical.org.au/newsletters/oct2011.htm