to buy my groceries in Asda even though it comes out worst (with Tesco) in ethical shopping lists?
Nospringflower · 06/05/2013 10:57
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).
mrsjay · 06/05/2013 11:05
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)
MrsHowardRoark · 06/05/2013 11:07
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.
Nospringflower · 06/05/2013 11:16
Mrsjay my brain has already exploded . 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 . 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!
FarBetterNow · 06/05/2013 11:45
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 · 06/05/2013 11:54
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.
UrbaneLandlord · 06/05/2013 12:49
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!
AllFallDown · 06/05/2013 14:10
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.
Nospringflower · 06/05/2013 14:34
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.
To comment on this thread you need to create a Mumsnet account.