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Thread: Ethical consumerism

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    Default Ethical consumerism

    Kiwis not buying into 'ethical' goods
    11 September 2006 ?
    By SEAN SCANLON

    New Zealand consumers are falling behind their international counterparts who are embracing the wave of "ethical consumerism", critics say. In countries such as England, the growth in "new" or "ethical consumerism" has seen people embrace organics, farmers' markets, and fair trade products. ?
    In Britain, sales of "ethical products" and services increased by 15 per cent in 2004 to $25.8 billion, as large shopping chains including Sainsbury's, Tesco, and Waitrose moved to meet demand. Globally, there is a queue of companies trying to tap into the market. ?

    Market researcher Jon Carapiet said that, unlike Britain, New Zealand had not experienced a major food scare such as mad cow disease, which acted to change people's attitudes towards industrial-style food production. ?

    "There is an education job for the local industry to explain what the difference is between organic and other products," he said. ?

    The environmental impact of food that travelled thousands of kilometres? "food miles" ? through carbon dioxide emissions could be huge, Carapiet said. Shopping locally, buying organic, and asking about the origin of food were steps people could take to meet the goals of ethical consumerism. ?

    Consumer Institute chief executive David Russell said, while New Zealand was behind Britain in terms of embracing organics, consumers here had greater access to fresh fruit and vegetables. ?

    The cost of organics could be a big problem for many consumers. However, he was sure that more people would embrace "new consumer" products as the environment and use of non-renewable resources became a bigger issue. "If there is demand you can bet your bottom dollar that large shopping chains will get more involved," Russell said. ?

    Trade Aid general manager Geoff White said its revenues had increased in recent years as people became more aware of issues such as the slave labour used to make some products. ?

    The uptake of fair trade coffee showed how successfully consumers' concerns about labour practices could be plugged in to. "I wonder if there's a supply issue in New Zealand in terms of the quantity and range (of organic products etc) available," he said. ?

    Green Party MP Sue Kedgley said there was a growing number of consumers concerned about how their habits affect the environment. "There is a whole sector of the market who don't purchase on price and are worried about food miles and animal welfare," she said. ?

    A Consumer Magazine report this week said food miles were not a black-and-white issue. "If we grow crops that are unsuited to our climate in a bid to avoid imports then we'll waste resources and damage our own environment," the magazine said. ?

    Kedgley said estimates had shown organic farming was up to one-third more energy-efficient that conventional farming. It made sense for New Zealand to position itself as having the most environmentally friendly and energy-efficient farmers in the world, she said. ?
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    Default Re: Ethical consumerism

    NZers 'among worst for stripping natural resources'

    10.55am Wednesday October 25, 2006

    New Zealand is one of the 10 worst countries in the world in terms of the demands each resident places on the world's natural resources.

    In a result which does little to enhance New Zealand's clean green image, it was placed ninth on the list issued by the WWF conservation group of nations whose inhabitants place most demands per capita on the world's natural resources.

    The WWF said in a report that humans were stripping nature at an unprecedented rate and would need two planets' worth of natural resources every year by 2050 on current trends.

    The global average demand was 2.2 hectares per person of productive land or seas in 2003 to provide natural resources they used and to re-absorb their waste. This was far above the available supply of 1.8 hectares per person.

    The "ecological footprints", calculated by the WWF, comprise use of fossil fuels, nuclear power, cropland, grazing land, built-up land, fishing grounds, forests. For the top nations, emissions from using fossil fuels were the main component.

    The worst 10 offenders:
    1. United Arab Emirates
    2. United States
    3. Finland
    4. Canada
    5. Kuwait
    6. Australia
    7. Estonia
    8. Sweden
    9. NEW ZEALAND
    10. Norway

    - REUTERS
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    Default Re: Ethical consumerism

    NZ clean and green - or poor
    31 October 2006

    New Zealand's economic future could be under threat from mounting global warming fears and it must convince the world it is a clean, sustainable producer, Prime Minister Helen Clark has warned.

    Dire forecasts about the impact of climate change could trigger a new round of trade protectionism based on environmental barriers and tariffs ? damaging this country's ability to sell goods to lucrative markets. A key risk was consumers opting to buy local products in an effort to cut carbon emissions from transporting goods, known as "food miles".

    "Unless we're seen to be going the extra mile on sustainability, we run the risk of being labelled as simply unsustainable producers, major carbon emitters even trying to get our produce to market," Miss Clark said.

    There had even been talk of "global warming premiums" that could harm exports of fruit, vegetables and flowers. Fruit and vegetable exports earned more than $1.5 billion in the first nine months of this year. "We really do have to take these issues extremely seriously and be mindful of our reputation as an economy," she said.

    Often the perception was ill-founded. Carbon emissions from producing and shipping New Zealand's dairy products worldwide were less than emissions from producing the same products in Europe.

    New Zealand kiwifruit had been singled out, one report claiming a kilogram of air-freighted fruit caused 5kg of carbon emissions. Kiwifruit is not usually air-freighted, however.

    Miss Clark's concerns follow the release of a report by chief British Government economist Nicholas Stern warning of economic upheavals if climate change is not addressed. A call for bold action on climate change was a key part of Miss Clark's speech to the Labour Party conference in Rotorua on Saturday.

    The Government would assess how the data in the Stern report affected New Zealand, she said, and could seek its own study to analyse the specific economic impact.

    "I think we are broadly aware of what rising sea levels and much more volatile climate would do to our agricultural- based economy but it may be that we need to be taking a rather broader look than that."

    Miss Clark's speech at the opening of Parliament in February would include more details of the Government's plans. "We need to take a majority of Parliament with us if there are to be sticks. Everyone will vote for carrots, but there need to be some balance of incentives and disincentives around some of these issues."

    Measures could include limits on the age of imported cars, sustainable land use and management, and a higher percentage of biofuels in petrol. The Government failed to win public support for the "fart tax" aimed at reducing agricultural emissions, or a 4-cent carbon tax on petrol.

    Miss Clark said high fuel prices had already boosted the use of public transport in Auckland and Wellington, and the Government was "running to catch up with the demand". Spending on public transport would need to increase further.

    The Stern report warns the world has 10 years to tackle climate change, or face a global recession costing about $10 trillion. The United Nations reported yesterday that the industrial world's emissions of greenhouse gases are growing again.

    - The Dominion Post
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    Default Re: Ethical consumerism

    Civil servants will have to drive smaller cars under proposed law
    7.00pm Friday November 3, 2006
    By Brian Fallow

    EXCLUSIVE - Public servants will have to make do with vehicles of 1800cc or less, if legislation proposed by the Green Party makes it onto the statute books. At the moment almost three-quarters of them have bigger engines than that and accordingly higher emissions of greenhouse gases.

    The bill would also require all passenger vehicles bought or leased by state sector organisations to among the top 10 per cent for fuel economy among vehicles of their size. There would be exemptions for the police and emergency services.

    The bill is one of six private members bills the Greens are putting into the ballot. Another would require airlines to bring their net emissions of greenhouse gases down to 1990 level by 2012.

    Airlines have few options for improving the efficiency with which they use fuel, Greens co-leader Jeanette Fitzsimons acknowledged, so they would be allowed to use offsets like forests that take carbon out of the atmosphere. But the bill also contains a more stringent provision that would cap airlines' gross emissions at 2007 levels. It would apply to both domestic and international flights.

    There is also a bill to scrap the daily fixed charge from consumers' power bills, requiring power companies to charge domestic consumers for energy only on the basis of the number of units of electricity they use. "At the moment it is possible for a consumer to save half of their power but only get a quarter off their power bill," she said.

    Another bill sets targets for the electrification of parts of the rail network and would require the rail operator, Toll NZ, to use biodiesel in trains running those
    parts of the network not electrified by 2012.

    They also want the share of the Land Transport Management Fund which is allocated to public transport, walking and cycling, rail and coastal shipping to be increased from a fifth now to two-thirds over the next five years.

    And if the sixth bill is drawn in the ballot -- and passes through the law making process -- sustainability and climate change impacts will be added to the factor the New Zealand Superannuation Fund's guardians must considers when setting their investment strategy.

    The Greens object to the Cullen fund investing in the oil giant ExxonMobil, which they accuse of being a major funder of the climate change denial "industry".

    "We welcome the newfound commitment from Labour and National to address climate change," Ms Fitzsimons said. "We would challenge them to either support these bills or come up with something better instead."
    Mother Bear

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