Monday, April 25, 2011

Ethical Consumerism: Morality at the market

It may have started when my friend Nicole Leimbach encouraged me to buy cage-free eggs. Prior to that I hadn't thought much about which eggs I purchased.

One thing led to another and I've begun to look more seriously into ethical issues surrounding the foods I buy.

I’m following CNN’s Freedom Project this year, which details modern day slavery, a practice that fuels some food-producing industries. Just before Valentine's Day 60 Minutes ran a segment on unpaid child labor in the production of cocoa, the raw product that goes into making chocolate.

I’m taking more time reading labels at the grocery store in an attempt to understand where the food I buy comes from. However, it’s difficult to get that information. As an example, finding free range meats is almost impossible in most neighborhood grocery stores. And, as a chocolate-lover, it’s hard determining which chocolates are fair trade or ethical trade. I’ve also found that I can’t assume that chains like Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods stock products that meet my rising ethical standards.

I’m to the point of using my smart phone to search out information while standing in the grocery store aisles.

I discovered Knowmore.Org while doing a search on Endangered Species chocolate. I noticed that some of their chocolates were Fair Trade certified, and others were not. I wanted to “know more.” Knowmore is a good resource that goes beyond the grocery store and posts on other products as well.

It appears that some grocers use terms “natural” or “vegetarian fed” to describe chickens and beef, but these are not the same terms as free-roaming or grass-fed.

This may seem like a lot to do about nothing to most people. However, it is important to think about actions that affect the ethical treatment of people, animals and the environment.

1 comment:

  1. I have to agree with you. It's very difficult to find a comprehensive source for information about which businesses operate ethically and which don't. For a growing list regarding forced labor, though, you can always check Free2Work.org.

    ReplyDelete

Thanks for joining the conversation.