Tuesday, 1 February 2011

Confessions of a Wannabe Eco Warrior: Part Fourth & Final

I don’t have nearly enough time to go into all the ethical considerations for ethical living so I will first have a look at the Nestle Boycott, an issue close to my heart (well close to my boobs certainly), and then leave you with some facts and figures about the production of some of the everyday items in our lives. Beware though, learning some of them may well change the way you shop forever (and will most definitely change the way you look at those items).

Have you heard of the Nestle Boycott? If not, allow me to enlighten you with some background text from The Rough Guide to Ethical Living (Duncan Clark, 2006).

“Right back in the 1930s pioneering paediatrician Dr Cicely Williams published and spoke about the hazards of inappropriate bottle feeding (side note – i.e. over or under dilution, mixing with solids, making up with un-sterile water). But for much of the twentieth century the formula milk manufacturers – of which Nestle was and still is, the biggest – aggressively promoted their products around the world. Pictures of plump ‘first world’ babies were used on tins and posters, and free samples sometimes given out by marketing ‘nurses’ were provided for hospitals and given out to new mothers, often making breastfeeding impossible and forcing mothers into months of purchasing. The result was a huge decline in the exclusive use of breastfeeding and the completely avoidable deaths of hundreds of thousands of babies each year around the world”

The Boycott came about as a result of Nestle continuously disregarding the World Health Organisations (WHO) standards for promotion of formula. The Boycott will continue for as long as Nestle continue to do this. It is co-ordinated by the International Baby Food Action Network. www.ibfan.org Visit this site for more in depth information.

I was shocked when I realized how many products are directly or indirectly manufactured/supplied by Nestle. I had to change my cat food (Purina) and hair care (L’Oreal & The Body Shop) as well as avoiding half the breakfast cereal aisle and chocolate bars. Not easy but certainly do-able with so many other quality brands around. Yet again it comes back to power in numbers. Show your support by backing the Boycott.

Nice clothes… but at what price?
• According to a study by the India Committee of the Netherlands, 90% of all labour in the Indian cottonseed market is carried out by nearly half a million children, mostly girls aged between six and fourteen. (D.Clark, 2006)
• Did you know Nike allegedly petitioned the Indonesian government for exemption from the minimum wage?
• Did you know Abercrombie & Fitch, Calvin Klein, Gap, Polo Ralph Lauren an d Tommy Hilfiger USA have all been sued in the past for alleged labour abuses?
• Although testing on animals is now illegal in the UK, loads of products are imported from abroad where testing is not banned.
• As of summer 2004, the brands Unilever (Oil of Olay, Max Factor, Old Spice & Vidal Sassoon to name a few) and Colgate Palmolive (Colgate, L’Oreal:Elvive,Garnier, Georgio Armani amongst others) were, according to the British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection, conducting/commissioning animal testing.
These few facts only scratch the vast surface of hair raising practices going on in the world. It is true that fair trade products do often cost more, but in a world sense, the cost is far, far lower. I started small, we now only buy fair-traded coffee, where can you start?

If you are interested in this issue, check out these websites
www.undp.org The UNs Global Development network


  1. Interesting series has got me thinking about what more I can do to live ethically. In our house we will only buy fairtrade chocolate and get tea, coffee, sugar and rice either fairtrade or exploit free. These websites are a good place to start.

    We also make an effort to recycle more than the council take from the doorstep. Cardboard goes to the tip, tetra paks go to the co-op where there is a bin for them in the car park, and we also recycle some types of plastics that sainsburys can take with the carrier bags.
    The best website I found is My zero waste, but I will admit that I'm nowhere near the level of reduction that family have.

    For finding out where your nearest tetra pak bank is if you are unfortunate enough to not have them included in kerbside recycling.


  2. Glad it got you thinking and thanks very much for your added websites and information!


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