Ethical Gets Easy

The Best Buy Label

A big problem I’ve had trying to buy ethically is the greenwash effect. This is when a product markets as ethical but the overall company or parent company isn’t ethical at all.

As an ethical consumer it is very important to think consciously about the trail of investment leading from your purchase. This can be difficult to do because brand names hide the true owners of each company.

As an example:

I choose to not shop in Primark because I do not want to support their cheap production of poor quality clothing because of the plethora of negative effects on the global environment and community. The Atmosphere clothing brand of Primark is owned by one of the world’s largest multinational food processing and retail companies Associated British Foods (ABF). ABF also own brands like: Dorset Cereals, Ryvita, Kingsmill, Jordans and Twinings.  So if I was to choose a Jordans cereal bar marketed by ABF as: “Jordans specialises in natural foods with minimal processing and since the launch of the UK’s first cereal bar has expanded into breakfast cereals.” I am marketed to feel like I am making a good purchase for my health while supporting a natural British product. However, now we know that my investment in Jordan’s is supporting ABF foods and therefore the hundreds of other brands and products I would normally boycott including Primark and dozens of pharma companies who test on animals. 

So this is a pretty overwhelming realisation especially when you acknowledge that pretty much every non-independent everyday brand and retailer has a dark hidden trail of investment…….but do not feabestbuylabelpurpler!

I am very excited today because I have finally had time to read into Ethical Consumer’s “Best Buy” label. This label changes everything

“It’s a unique label that looks in detail at the ethical record of the company behind the product and the environmental and ethical record of the product itself.” – Ethical Consumer

So you don’t even need to think. If you see this label then you know you are making the very best choice available to you in the product range on the market. The label covers everything from clothes to cleaning products to toiletries to gadget, gizmos and gifts. Follow this link and scroll down to see a list of Best Buy product rated companies or watch this space for a blog about my favourite items on the Best Buy label coming soon!

A not so Sunny Sunday

Fast Food: healthy, local, vegan

love to spend my Sundays in the kitchen making my food for the week. As I’m often on the go I cook a variety of large meals and freeze them into portions.

This is not a food blog but more about sharing how it is possible to eat fresh, healthy meals at an affordable price. I will share links at the bottom of the page to the recipes I have used and adapted for my own.

This blog is to demonstrate that everyone can eat fresh and healthy for less than £10.

So since I’ve been busy this week I couldn’t get to my usual Veg Market at Chrisp Street so I went to a great Indian ran veg store near Shadwell station.

For £8 I bought;

1 cauliflower, a bag of tomatoes, 2 cucumbers, 8 carrots, a big bag of mangetout, a squash, 4 cans of chickpeas and 2 cans of coconut milk.

With this I’ve made;Toasted Seeds

A thai coconut curry, toasted squash seeds, hummus with carrot ribbons and a batch of roasted veg.

The curry has 6 portions, the hummus with veg sticks will be 2 lunches and the roast veg made 3 portions.

IHummus with carrot ribbons and mangetout shopped, cooked, washed up, portioned and boxed up all the meals in 3 hours.

£8 + 3 hours = 11 meals. Plus I have half a cauliflower left, 10 tomatoes, 2 cucumbers and 4 carrots.

Healthy and fresh eating on a budget for everyone!


Recipes:

Roasting your own seeds (Squash)

Vegan Thai Curry with home made Red Thai Paste

Super simple hummus recipe

How I Live Now

Uncategorized

As promised, blog post number two will highlight how I currently live. This will hopefully give you ideas on how you can be Ethical in London and help me see where and how I can improve. I’ll break it down into sections to make it a tad more bitesize [and because I just love to be efficient]

1.Eating and Drinking

Shop local, shop organic, shop independent, shop healthily. I buy all my fresh food locally at Chrisp Street market for pennies, my spices in the local Indian stores and a few other treats from independent organic health food stores.If I do buy processed foods I aim for organic, fairtrade, recyclable earth friendly products from stores with an ethical and sustainable ethos within my local community.Quick guide- if its in a package, it is processed, don’t let modern marketing fool you!

Cooking is really important to me. I love to do it and I especially love knowing what’s in my food. I (as many modern women ;)) don’t always have time/energy/effort to cook daily so I always make a big portion and freeze into meal size portions. This uses less fuel per meal, allows me to always have a quick and fulfilling meal on the go and means all my market veggies get used while they are fresh.

Since we’re Ethical London we must be British and talk about tea. I’m a traitor to the English Cuppa and now I only drink actual herbal tea. The journey from tea leaves to tea bag has many negative environmental effects. To avoid; chemically bleached tea bags, the transport carbon footprint, factory processing, modern slavery, land abuse and the many other things behind the innocent tea bag I use all fresh ingredients in a teapot. My go to drinks at the moment are lemon, lemon rind, leaves from my mint plant, fresh ginger from the market and cinnamon sticks.

2. Travel

Guess what….? I have a bike. I cycle to and from and in between jobs every day. Its good for my heart, my health, my wallet and the environment. I recommend cycling to everyone in London. It can be daunting at first but it definitely changed my life for the better.

International travel: okay, not great for me. In the last 18 months I have been on 26 flights. Bad carbon footprint certainly but how else can I travel to so many amazing places? Suggestions please anyone!

3. Hobbies

As an outdoor enthusiast my hobbies are all outdoorsy and quite physical. They are also all free* and can be shared with a community of people: climbing, hiking, slacklining, cycling, walking, crafts, learning Ukulele, blogging, cooking and chalk drawing.

*Climbing is free as I work in the centre, sorry!

4. Volunteering and Activism

This is where I really let myself down. I am actively sharing my views with people who are interested and enjoy urging people to make more ethical choices. I have only been back in London for 2 weeks at this point so I cut myself a little slack but I really want to be part of a local group for social change. I am lucky to be involved in a local clean up on 26th August 2015 with the Lower Regents Coalition and will be exploring opportunities with local mental health charity Sane in the coming weeks. If you have any suggestions for more proactive groups in East London I’d love you to share your ideas with me!

3.Clothes Shopping

This one is a little easier for me. In May 2015 I left renting for 3 months to travel. I donated many of my belongings to a local blind charity Geranium, put 8 boxes in storage and left with my backpack. In this time I really understand the difference between “need” and “want”. So the answer to shopping for me is that I don’t “need” anything. If I get to a point where I do I’ll either; borrow from a friend, shop in a local charity shop, buy from an online charity shop or buy from an ethical store where I know the products are cruelty-free for humans and animals.

4. Beauty Products

Luckily I’m not so bothered about make-up but this is an area I need to improve in. I am currently using my remaining toiletries from before my travels, most of these products I would not buy now and this is a particular area for improvement for me. I no longer want plastic bottles in my bathroom. Shampoo and conditioner can both be in soap form so I will utilise ethically made vegan society approved soaps, maybe even soaps made locally! I already use a fantastic Neem Oil vegan soap which is incredible and very long lasting. For make up I still need to research more, what I thought would be an easy go to shop was The Body Shop however they are owned by L’oreal. The Body Shop are boycotted by many for animal welfare reasons as Body Shop profits will support the animal-testing practices funded outside of the EU by the parent company. Help please?

A little bit of inspiration

From re-reading my post I can see my ethos is mainly focused around buying ethical products and choosing local as frequently as possible. These are two things every person can do, even on a budget, I am proof of that. Becoming and being a conscientious consumer makes me so happy. I really want to share that happiness with you so maybe tomorrow make one small change to be local and ethical. Be inspired and even better, inspire me!

It’s blog o’clock

A journey for ethical living

Thanks for looking at my blog. This is a space for myself to record my experiences in making more ethical and sustainable life choices for myself whilst living in London. I hope this blog can also be a resource for other people on the same journey.

My ethos;

Money is voting. As a consumer we wield all the power and our purchases should reflect our beliefs. Buying Fairtrade is a vote for fairtrade. Buying clothes made by slavery is a vote for slavery.

My resources;

PEOPLE are my biggest resources. I love to learn from other people and hope to learn from more people using this blog and by following others.

EthicalConsumer is a website and magazine which I am signed up for. I receive their magazine bi-monthly and will post my new findings and open discussion here on Ethical London.

Whats next?

My next blog post will be about me and my life at the moment to give you some perspective of my current choices, then we’ll go from there.

Thanks for your time readers

x