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August 25, 2006


It's hard to be 100% ethical. I really really try. I try to buy fair trade everything and also I try not to make any garbage so I try to buy in bulk and use my own containers. I haven't really found any bulk fair trade chocolate so far-the best I can do is a (recyclable)can of fair trade cocoa to make my own with. It's difficult to go out anywhere and even more difficult to shop. I do find myself eating at regular restaurants now and then, and sometimes munching on something delicious that I have no idea where it came from. With garbage, if I do make any, I keep it and my newest idea is that I will wear it. With fair trade tracking, I think it would be interesting for a bunch of people to try and be as ethical as possible and keep a journal tracking their successes, failures, attemps etc.
This is a great site and an resonating entry. It's really hard in this world to be 100% ethical. I think the best bet is to be informed, do as much as we can and try to make some changes in the societal structure so it will be easier in the future.

Hey Dan , give yourself a break!
The problem with ethical shopping is we don't yet have the info on ethical sourcing for EVERYTHING we consume, so there's always going to something you fall down on. Best you can do realistically is make a conscious choice to choose the ethical product or supplier where you can.
So, for example, myself and my wife have been buying only Fairtrade coffee and tea for yonks now (look for the Fairtrade logo), only buying Innocent smoothies (of course!) and we switched to doing our big weekly shop at the Co-op instead of Tesco (not so keen on how Tesco treat their suppliers, like farmers, and we like Co-op's support of Fairtrade products) as well as topping up at our local shops - it's good to support them too.
We also reuse and recycle as much as we can (we're lucky our local council is good on this and has a recycling centre where you can take almost anything) and I commute by bus instead of having a second car - my wife has to use our car to get to her work at the local hospital because of the shift times.
Funny thing is the switch to Co-op paid us back, as our local store gives you 5p a litre off petrol if you spend more than £30 - so we even save a bit on that thanks to our ethically-driven decision!

Good work Alan. Sounds like you're doing the right things. And you're right - the fact that we don't have 'perfect' information about all of the stuff we buy means that we'll always fall down somewhere.

It will please you to know that I have found out that the tea I was drinking was indeed daubed with the Fairtrade badge, so I can now sleep at night.

I've been reading books like FAST FOOD NATION, SHOPPED and NOT ON THE LABEL. They are a sobering reminder of man's inhumanity to man. All in the pursuit of the almighty dollar/pound.

The reason that Tesco and other supermarkets are successful is that we shop there. It's convenient, seemingly cheap. And yet every time such staples as onions, carrots, potatoes are being imported, British farming dies a little more.

Innocent smoothies are a prime example that you get what you pay for. Cheaper smoothies contain additives, concentrates, E numbers. And the taste suffers.

Information is the key, as is distribution. It's not always possible to get to specialist outlets, and postal deliveries of goods (such as meat and vegetable boxes) a problem for those of us in flats.

It's always possible to do more. Dan. maybe you should be a bit kinder to yourself. Spreading the news, and walking the walk, helps make a difference.

I like to take responsibility for my footprint -but I frequently find that I've slipped from the path of righteousness. My husband does a lot of the shopping as he's the housefrau and I work - and I find it a bit difficult to instill my level of pickiness into him. Plus I'm allergic to gluten - which makes eating everything a bleeding nightmare.
So I like innocent because they're quietly popping up all over everywhere and I feel like a can trust them. I used to moan a bit about how much they cost then I looked at the ingredients on a big carton and did a rough mental sum as to how much it would cost to buy that lot at a supermarket and make it myself. Couldn't reckon on there being much difference and I've kept my trap shut on the issue since.
I think you should use that in your sd campaign - like stella do - you know - reassuringly expensive because they're made with the right stuff.

You can't have everything ethical, for example the note in your wallet could have been handled by a drug dealer.

However we can change the demand structure to a good degree, if we all refused to buy slave labour products for example those manufacturers would be forced to change their business to become ethical. The same applies to food.

Its really up to us, but sadly most humans are selfish and when we have our basic needs ethics for some of us go out the window. Costs can be a problem for some of us, but when the structure is implemented costs with demand and supply would naturally adjust to the market.

I suppose that an ethical bag of chips would be made from locally sourced organic potatoes bought directly from the farmer, through a food co-op or grown yourself. They would have to be fried in organic or fairtrade olive oil (my mum just found fairtrade oil from Palastine in the One World Shop in Aberdeen). You'd probably have to do it yourself, as it's questionable how ethical it is to sell people such unhealthy foods. You should use only energy sourced from renewables to cook them. Finally, the bag would have to be made of 100% recycled paper, but probably wouldn't be recyclable because of all the fat and ethical vinegar stains.

It's important to remember that just because we can't do everything, doesn't mean that we should do nothing. If we all do what we can, then that will make a really big difference.

nice ethical chips recipe naomi. you're spot on as well - we should all do our bit. dan

Everyone can make a few simple steps to being more ethical.

Stop buying Nestle products!
Make sure you buy fairtrade Sugar.
Make sure you buy Organic Dairy products.

Then read the fantastic 'Good Life' book -


Although you may not be totally ethical in your shopping habits the fact that you as an individual and as a company are actually aware of such things is wonderful! I watched Al Gore's sustainability DVD at college in an assembly (type thing) and so many of the kids there with me were saying how bored they were and how it was all rubbish, one of my classmates even said she was glad she missed it (presumably they have another planet to go to when this one gets messed up beyond help). Anyway! I'm vegi, and I don't buy animal products of any kind for clothing, my family recycle as much as we can (I hate throwing out Tetra-Pak cartons! The one downside to buying big smoothies!), we only buy free range eggs, and if I cook for my meaty boyfriend I buy free range meat. I try to buy organic and fair trade too. Although I'm aware that I could be more ethical I try my best. If everyone tried their best the world would be a better place. The whole sweeping your own doorstep thing...

I'd love to see a film made with a rolling camera mounted on top of the cow van all day, sped up to final edit for a 5 minute film. It must be busy being a cow van.

maybe cut into/switching between film made on top of the cow that supplies your milk for thickies ...if the RSPCA approve.

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