to buy my groceries in Asda even though it comes out worst (with Tesco) in ethical shopping lists?

(55 Posts)

Can't decide where to do online shop. Waitrose comes out best but is dearest, Sainsburys middle and Asda bottom of ethical lists but cheapest eg milk £1.49 instead of £1.89 but think they screw the farmers. Should I think of my cash or think of the bigger good (as I can afford to shop in any of them).

IneedAsockamnesty Mon 06-May-13 11:00:38

If ethical shopping is a issue for you and your not broke then shop ethically.

Its when you can't afford to place principles before purse that you have a problem.

mrsjay Mon 06-May-13 11:02:11

if it is an ethical issue for you then you need to pare back what you buy and shop where you feel comfortable with, it is really up to you where you shop, a lot of people are not in a position to worry about ethical shopping and need to eat

phantomnamechanger Mon 06-May-13 11:02:49

if you can afford to buy fair trade, free range, ethical goods etc, then you should

plenty of people don't have the choice thesedays and shop where they can buying the cheapest they can to feed their families

mrsjay Mon 06-May-13 11:05:01

and tbh not all fair trade free range etc is that, fair trade is a dodgy area yes the producers get their cut but sometimes we don't know where things like coffee beans come from for the producer to grind, I think buying as ethically as you can is better than not at all (if that makes sense)

I genuinely couldn't decide and have been faffing about comparing prices so thanks - you are right. I can afford to do it (dont get me wrong i'm not rich at all but not poor either) so I should go for the ethical choice smile

MavisG Mon 06-May-13 11:05:42

I think yabu, since you could afford to shop more ethically. I can, & do, but many people can't.

MavisG Mon 06-May-13 11:06:47

(X posted)

I was only thinking about which shop but now I'm going to have to think about which products - do buy free range eggs but not necessarily fair trade stuff blush

MrsHowardRoark Mon 06-May-13 11:07:47

I think if you can afford to shop anywhere then you should consider the origin of the products.

Are you comfortable knowing that people are exploited so you can save 40p?

I don't have a large grocery budget but I do buy locally produced milk and we eat little meat as we cannot afford to buy large quantities of ethically produced meat.

Also, I would never shop at Asda because of Walmart and everything they do worldwide but that is a personal choice.

mrsjay Mon 06-May-13 11:09:06

your brain will explode if you try and work it al out and probably never get shoping done grin

mrsjay Mon 06-May-13 11:10:08

I buy local Milk and I try and use the butchers as much as I can , and tbh our butcher isn't that expensive compared to tescos where we shop,

mrsjay Mon 06-May-13 11:12:42

but tbh I haven't always been able to afford to shop like this,

Mrsjay my brain has already exploded grin. I hate food shopping and work nearly full time so do online shop although agree shopping in butchers, fish shop etc would be better. Just realised I don't even know what local milk is blush. Anyway, have just started a waitrose shop and will try to look at what I put in trolley as well!

Have also found out clothes shops I liked are unethical (post Bangladesh factory) so haven't been able to buy myself any clothes - another head exploding problem!

Startail Mon 06-May-13 11:17:38

For me the ethical choice is which ever I'm driving past.
That way I save money and CO2 at the same time.

herecomesthsun Mon 06-May-13 11:26:34

I shop in Waitrose sometimes and Lidl sometimes (and I am lucky not to be forced to buy the cheapest I know), However, Lidl 'do do very cheap Fairtrade coffee e.g....

herecomesthsun Mon 06-May-13 11:28:17

re clothes shopping - second hand is ethical, can be bargainous and gives lots of choice via Ebay...

anonpost Mon 06-May-13 11:31:27

Depends if budget is a problem. If not, go with ethical every time.

FarBetterNow Mon 06-May-13 11:45:21

Asda do a Fairtrade Organic Honey - they seem to be the only supermarket that does.
Sainsbury do Fairtrade teabags at .36p for 80 - they must do them as a loss leader.

I tend to buy different items in different supermarkets.

Ocado IMO is the best quality.

CloudsAndTrees Mon 06-May-13 11:54:36

I shop ethically when it comes to meat, well, as ethically as you can when it comes to dead animals.

I'm probably incredibly unethical when it comes to clothes because I buy lots of supermarket and Primark stuff, but that's what I can afford so I'm not about to feel guilty about it.

Our food shops usually come from Waitrose or Sainsburys, but that's because of convenience, not ethics.

There will be an argument for an against any way of shopping tbh. For some people, shopping at Waitrose will use more petrol so will be worse for the environment. Which cause is more worthy is for the individual to decide.

Tee2072 Mon 06-May-13 12:19:38

No matter what you buy or where you buy it, yes, even locally, someone, some where is being screwed.

Buy what you like where you like.

UrbaneLandlord Mon 06-May-13 12:49:10

The most ethical shopping you can do is to buy from "sweat shops" in developing countries.

This is because jobs in "sweat shops" are for very many people the best in town and they travel for miles to gain employment in them. If we all boycotted "sweat shops" and they closed down then the former workers would have much poorer, shorter more miserable lives often begging, in prostitution or agrarian agriculture where the Health & Safety standards are even worse than in the sweat shops.

At least in sweat shops, the workers are gathered in larger & better organised institutions which lend themselves to local and international scrutiny. We often get to hear about "scandalous" working conditions and tragic large-scale events arising from sweat shops but rarely do we hear about the 100s of millions of individual impoverished, miserable, short lives with much higher chances of accident & disease for those denied the chance to work in a sweat shop.

If we all buy from sweat shops then there is a very good chance that some of that money is going to those developing countries and to the workers themselves. Plus we are giving them pride & self-accomplishment for earning an honest living and competing with the best in the world for business.

Also, make sure you demand high standards of quality from the sweat shops: that way the owners will be forced to raise the capability of their work-force through training, effective management; and ultimately paying more money to attract & retain the best workers!

And don't forget: 1 or 2 centuries ago the UK was a sweat shop economy; it took many decades of wealth-creation and progress to get where we are now. Let's help the new "sweat shop economies" to join us by buying their stuff. That's a lot more effective than charity & fair-trade!

Tee2072 Mon 06-May-13 14:02:53

Really well said, Urbane. I have said similar or other threads but not quite so clearly and elegantly!

AllFallDown Mon 06-May-13 14:10:30

No, it took many decades of trade union organisation, workers taking matters into their own hands to force change, and then mobilising public opinion before Parliament, reluctantly, started laying down minimum standards for pay, hours and conditions. The improvement in workers' conditions was nothing to do with more wealth having been created. Buying sweatshop products does not encourage companies to improve conditions; it encourages them to think buyers don't care enough about the exploitation to shop elsewhere. It gives them less incentive to improve, not more.

Defenders of sweat shops like to say that they offer the best jobs in town. The hourly rate may be higher - but that also ignores the many penalties that sweatshop workers face, the greater risk of accident from large scale and unregulated factories, and the demands that are made in return for a fractionally higher wage. What sweatshops actually do is bully workers into accepting their terms, because they have the might of large companies behind them. There's so much about this online - just Google sweatshops and exploitation. You will find plenty of defenders of sweatshops, too – and you will also see that they are mainly writing for libertarian organisations, or for business publications (big piece in Forbes - the magazine of corporate America - on just this subject the other day), and have a vested interest in preserving sweat shops.

UrbaneLandlord Mon 06-May-13 14:31:52

You're missing the point AllFallDown: boycotting sweat shops will not help those workers and will simply make their lives worse.

Yes, think it is simplistic to say that it is a good thing to support 'sweatshops' as the alternative is no jobs. Surely pressure on companies like Asda Walmart to improve conditions would be better? Most big companies won't change without challenge and that may mean consumers stopping buying products rather than going along with it.

Tee2072 Mon 06-May-13 14:37:56

You're delusional to think the high street shops and even the designer brands don't use sweatshops. They do just as much as ASDA/Wal-Mart etc do.

AllFallDown Mon 06-May-13 14:39:09

I'm not missing the point. I agree an unfocused boycott achieves nothing; a boycott where the target of ire is known can achieve lots. Hence my point about trade union activism

You're missing the point: embracing sweatshop produce as enthusiastically as you suggest will only encourage employers to change nothing, because the consumer is showing there is no need for them to do so – there being no economic penalty.

Tee2027 - I am getting the information from websites that look at companies ethical policies/actions on a range of criteria and it is from that that Asda, Primark, Tesco etc get their low ratings (and expensive shops - mulberry also being one of the worst) so it's not just personal opinion.

Tee2072 Mon 06-May-13 16:19:32

Yes and it must be true because you're reading it on some internet site... hmm

mrsjay Mon 06-May-13 16:23:20

I agree with tee tbh just buy what you like where you like you could spend a life time making sure you are doing the 'right thing' but life is way to short imo

Tee2072 Mon 06-May-13 16:27:25

Man, lots of people have been agreeing with me lately. These smart pills are really working! grin

mrsjay Mon 06-May-13 16:32:14

bask in it tee I think you are very sensible grin

Tee2072 Mon 06-May-13 16:32:55

I was told to get off my high horse on Saturday, so it's nice to be thought sensible. grin

mrsjay Mon 06-May-13 16:34:09

OH i have been high horsey it is fine today I agree with you another day I will be hmm

joanofarchitrave Mon 06-May-13 16:35:56

"you could spend a life time making sure you are doing the 'right thing'"

hear hear

joanofarchitrave Mon 06-May-13 16:38:28

what i do think is true is that the stuff that is packaged as 'good'/'ethical' is frequently pretty problematic

i also think we should consider economies of scale in energy etc - a lot less wasteful to buy plastic cakes in iceland made by the trillion in a single large oven rather than have us all individually turning on our inefficient half-empty ovens to make cupcakes

but none of this IMO makes it ok to go 'i am deliberately not going to give a crap about anyone else'

I know you can spend loads of time trying to do the right thing (spent hours slithering about supermarkets this morning grin) but if you KNOW a place is bad it seems wrong to shop there.

mrsjay Mon 06-May-13 16:54:38

yes I agree with you too yes if you know and it bothers you then of course dont shop I think that is what tee meant shop and buy where and what you like, make your own choice

ivanapoo Mon 06-May-13 17:03:13

What's wrong with trying to do the right thing ffs? What a shit attitude.

If life is too short to think about the impact you might have on others and the world around you occasionally, how come you have so much time to piss about on mumsnet?

OP shop in Waitrose - they're far from perfect but treat their suppliers a bit better and have a good selection of stuff.

joanofarchitrave Mon 06-May-13 17:04:45

i felt tee was saying, make an active choice to buy from developing countries that are in the game for the big contracts, as if a big brand is involved the setup is larger scale and there is more attention on the conditions for the workers. Fair point.

mrsjay Mon 06-May-13 17:05:40

nothing is wrong with trying to do the right thing but if you tried to do the right thing in every purchase or bit of food then as i said before your head will explode,

mrsjay Mon 06-May-13 17:06:13

i felt tee was saying, make an active choice to buy from developing countries that are in the game for the big contracts, as if a big brand is involved the setup is larger scale and there is more attention on the conditions for the workers. Fair point.

^ ^ this too

mrsjay Mon 06-May-13 17:07:09

oh ivana I have really pissed you off eh, sorry you took what i said the wrong way no need to get so angry about it

ivanapoo Mon 06-May-13 17:09:03

Sorry mrsjay I got a bit AIBU-angry there. I just hate "life's too short" as an excuse for people to make selfish choices.

I see your point about it being easy to tie yourself up in knots about making the right decision every time though.

mrsjay Mon 06-May-13 17:20:28

I probably seemed flippant I didnt mean too I do try and make good choices and it isn't always possible , you did get a bit ARGHHH but thats ok grin

Tee2072 Mon 06-May-13 17:38:02

That's exactly what I meant.

I'm totally stony broke, but I still manage to do what I can, i.e. buy fairtrade coffee. But I a) there is no Waitrose in NI so I can't shop there and b) I can't afford to buy everything ethically.

I do care about other people. But at this point in my life I have to mostly be concerned about my family and feeding and clothing them.

My son would have no clothes if I was concerned about where every piece of clothing he wears is made. So I shop at Primark and Tesco and ASDA and he's covered and warm and gets to wear the same characters his friends do. He's only 3.10 so not quite worried about fashion yet. grin

And that isn't going to change any time soon. I'm one of those hidden disability people the government hates who is too well for DLA (or whatever it is now) and too ill to hold down a job so I freelance when I can get work. My husband makes a fairly good wage but hasn't had a real raise in, probably, 10 years, so not keeping up with the cost of everything. I almost cried when I saw Tesco milk, which I know is ethically produced and fairly paid for, had gone up 2p a litre. That's an additional 12p a week of my grocery money, which sounds like nothing unless you are as tightly budgeted as I am. So I've switched to a brand I don't know the ethos of because both my son and my husband love milk and the other brand is nearly 20p cheaper for 2 litres.

So if you have the time, energy and money to research and be ethical (whatever the fuck that means these days) go for it. I don't and just maybe never will.

higgle Mon 06-May-13 17:44:35

Asda have a greater range of vegetarian foods than any of the other large supermarkets, and it is cheaper - encouraging people not to eat meat sounds pretty ethical to me.

Sparrowp Mon 06-May-13 20:45:32

I found Sainsburys was cheaper than Asda actually, and I am not happy shopping at Asda because they are so unethical in the way they treat the staff in the the store.

Waitrose is lovely when you can afford it.

rainbowslollipops Mon 06-May-13 21:21:11

Online shopping wise I always go with Asda. I spend just over £100 a month on a big shop for dd and I and found I can make food last longer. I buy milk from my local newsagents for £1 same thing with bread is £1 and I freeze that. Sainsburys for me is expensive. But we do have a lidl so I'm very lucky there and also one day a week the market is out in our local village so.I take full blown advantage of the food there. (good size block of Stilton for £2 grin )

I think the problem is that Asda / Walmart are known for unethical practices including being poor employers, using low paid workers, screwing the farmers for rock bottom prices and using low paid workers in poor conditions and child labour in their clothes production. But (or as a result) they are cheaper and therefore expletive with little financial choice have to buy from them, even if they would prefer not to. And then you have the folk who don't give a shit or believe it is good to employ people in poor conditions as it is better than being unemployed. Anyway, thanks to everyone for making me see that I should go with companies with a god ethical reputation since I care about it and can afford to chose.

People not expletive!

bettycocker Mon 06-May-13 23:16:45

Every garment that's made uses energy and resources. Every manufactured item has a carbon footprint. Do people really need so much new stuff?

We should try to reuse and recycle, if only for the good of all life on this planet. Honestly, do any of us have a right to be entitled to stuff in the first place? We're not the only inhabitants here and we can't continue the way we are going.

I'll fuck off and go back to my tree hugging now.

ivanapoo Tue 07-May-13 09:09:00

betty great point. One of the reasons I try to buy clothes in charity shops or on eBay, when I need them.

The amount of food we waste (as a nation) is shocking. We throw away something like 25% of all food we buy!

bettycocker Tue 07-May-13 19:22:43

ivanapoo, I try to buy second hand too.

For grocery shopping I will choose Waitrose, the Co-op and buy locally. Sometimes I have to go on a mercy dash to somewhere random though.

Somebody told me that I'm too poor to shop at Waitrose. hmm Maybe I can shop there because I don't spend money on other things. smile

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