Information for consumers about how their spending habits affect human rights, animal rights and welfare, and the environment.
NEW: Vegan cheese
NEW: 2014 November: Green America's List of Socially Responsible Retailers
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2014 Dec. 9 Yahoo News: Demand for illegal ivory by wealthy Chinese citizens has caused a 13-fold increase in the retail price since 2002. Poachers in Africa have killed many elephants to satisfy the demand. Poaching and habitat loss have threatened the survival of some populations.
2014 December 1 TheRealNews.com: Black Friday protests included those against the decision "to not indict Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson for killing unarmed black teen Michael Brown" and demands of Walmart workers for a living wage of $15 per hour and the right to unionize. A study "found that women are disproportionately impacted by the company's pay scale and that Walmart could pay its workers $25,000 a year--which is equivalent to $15 an hour full-time--without charging customers more."
2014 November 21 DemocracyNow.org: "New Film Tracks How Immokalee Workers Won Fair Wages from Corporate Giants"
The film "Food Chains" documents how The Coalition of Immokalee Workers got major corporate buyers to agree to the demands of the Fair Food Campaign. Abuse of tomato pickers in Immokalee, Florida had included brutal working conditions and outright slavery: see Modern-Day Slavery. This was an amazing victory of the seemingly powerless over the hugely powerful.
2014 November 22 On Bill Moyers.com: Group of Harvard students sue the university to divest from fossil fuels
2014 November 20 On Buzzflash.com: Oil Company Tries to Shake Down California County for $1.2 Billion for Banning Fracking
2014 November 20 The Real News: Animal agriculture and global warming
2014 November 19 On Bill Moyers.com: Federal Election Commission allows Chevron to avoid campaign finance restrictions
2014 November 18 Uganda probes theft of ivory stockpile
2014 November 17 Common Dreams: 35.8 Million Worldwide Living in Modern-Day Slavery
Sweatshop conditions and pay are being investigated by the Labor Department. Some methods of wage theft are paying by the piece at rates sometimes equivalent to less than minimum wage, "pay stubs [that] could be redeemed only at check cashing stores that charged fees", failing to pay proper rates for overtime and sick pay, and forcing employees to " complete tasks before clocking in or after clocking out".
"Experts say intense competition among garment manufacturers has created incentives for companies to shortchange workers, many of whom are undocumented immigrants hesitant to report labor abuses."
"The contractors targeted by the Labor Department supply some of the nation's most recognizable retailers, including Macy's, JC Penney and Kohl's."
2014 November 13 Shell Oil suit ruled unconstitutional.
After having plans for drilling in environmentally sensitive areas in Alaska approved, Shell filed three suits to preemptively prevent environmental and Alaskan native advocates from suing Shell to stop the drilling. Two of the suits were dismissed; one is still pending.
Fair Trade News: Fair World Project works to protect the strength and integrity of the term fair trade.
Special Report: Chocolate
2013: How to make sure your chocolate purchases do not support child slavery.
Special Report: Torture
There is hope! Please see the post on a January 2012 anti-torture resolution by the city of Chicago, and how other municipalities can do the same. If you do not see it at first, refresh the page by clicking the refresh button on your browser bar or pressing the f5 key.
Special Report: Fair Trade
2013 update summarizes changes in standards and controversy over increasing availability of products with the certification by making it easier to get certified vs. maintaining more rigorous standards. Fair World Project offers suggestions for resolving the conflict by making product labels more transparent about percentage of ingredients that are certified.
Special Report: Modern-Day Slavery
2012 Oct. 3: good news!Green America reports that Hershey Co. "will be certifying 100 percent of its cocoa by 2020 and urged the chocolate giant to go 100 percent Fair Trade with incremental benchmarks."
2012 Oct. 5: more good news! Chipotle signed the Fair Food Agreement with the Coalition of Immokalee Workers. Trader Joe's signed back in February 2012.