City Hippy

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We are dedicated to exploring how to live a greener and more ethical life. City Hippy is a growing collective of writers bringing you two types of content:

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Friday, July 28, 2006

NEWS: The CityHippy Week

Ladies & Gentleman, it's Friday night! Welcome to...

The CityHippy Week!

STORY OF THE WEEK: Sainsbury’s launches first ever supermarket organic box scheme
Could not find the article mentioning this so took this from the corporate site. Sainsbury's organic produce buyer, Russell Crowe (not that one) says:
"This is a huge push for the UK organic industry and supports Sainsbury's ongoing commitment to British farmers and producers. Its fantastic that we are able to draw together the best of British product in season by using our national network of growers."
A sign of things to come? I think so...well done to Sainsbury's for being the first supermarket in to the fray.

What else caught my little green eye?

Firms told to cut packaging waste
Oh goody...very positive step indeed. Look forward to seeing less plastic in my rubbish and even less bags in the bin. Pretty much the only thing we throw away now is plastic packaging.

The UK's first recycled kitchen
Saw an article about this but again cannot find the article yet. Found the site though. Awesome innovation here and if this is available when I need a new kitchen I would not hesitate to buy it if it is affordable of course.

Electrical goods makers face huge bill for recycling
Another great initiative from Europe being adopted by the UK government - and who says the EU is a waste of time. The effect will be that mannufacturers will have to weight the cost of recycling against lowering profits by making their products last longer. So the more expensive it is to recycle the longer the products will be built to last for.

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Cityhippy bookmark of the week:
Sweatshops - great vox pop etc from fashion.psfk
Watch this to find out why people disconnect from caring about people and planet. Ends with a great quote from Trip Hunter, Director, Renegagde Marketing: 'I assume everything is ok' - Folks the challenge is to make it easier for folks like Trip to care.

…and that's the way it is folks!



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At 1:36 PM, Anonymous Veggies,Yarns & Tails said...

A recycled kitchen??? Tell me more....I can relate to lost articles, they are here SOMEWHERE!!! Need to move again, that's the best way to find buried treasures...LOL.

Happy Weekend, G

At 7:14 PM, Anonymous Dan Bailey said...

Not so sure why you think a supermarket box scheme is a good thing. The whole point of box schemes in the first place was to put the money in the farmers' hands instead of letting them get ripped off by the supermarkets.

At 1:00 PM, Blogger Mrs Moo said...

re: Sweatshops - great vox pop etc from fashion.psfk - 'I assume everything is ok' there lie the problem. Unless people are tuned into the ethics they do assume everything is OK because that is easier for them, their conscience and their precious time to assume that rather than think or researching before buying. Why not grade products for ethics like we have to grade electrical appliance for energy effiency. As for me I assume its sweatshop labour unless I have purchased from an ethical supplier e.g. Gossypium (fairtrade & organic): Monsoon (member of the Ethical Trading Initiative and was one of the original members. to read more click here

At 5:15 PM, Blogger City Hippy said...

Hi Dan

Clearly Sainsburys will source produce from local farmers and sell it on to a larger traditionally, non-box scheme customer base.

So the result will be more people who do not notmally buy a box buying local fresh organic seasonal produce...and many of them might look for alternatives and end up at the other non-supermarket schemes themselves...

How is any of that bad?



At 11:25 AM, Anonymous Dan Bailey said...

Hi Al,

It's bad because of the way supermarkets treat farmers.

The supermarkets control around 80% of the British grocery market, which allows them to dictate the terms and price they pay to farmers. The farmers have no choice but to accept because there's virtually no other buyers left. If they refuse to meet the supermarkets' demands, they go out of business.

Once a supermarket has a contract with a farmer, they start taking advantage. They pay the farmer less and less until they go out of business, they run promotions then make the farmer take a lower price to pay for it, they reject anything that isn't 100% perfect in shape and colour, they dictate what crops the farmer must grow, they make the farmer pay a rebate on an agreed price, they make the farmer pay for changes to product packaging, the make the farmer pay for unsold stock, and so on.

The box scheme was intended to let farmers sell directly to customers, bypassing the supermarket. For a huge number of farmers, it's the only way they can survive, as the average farm income has more than halved in the last 20 years because of supermarkets.

If a supermarket does a box scheme it will be cheaper then the farmers' own box schemes, making them go out of business, as the majority of the public just want whatever's cheapest. The farmers will then have to supply the supermarkets, or face going bust. Then they get squeezed again.

So yes, it might result in more people buying local fresh organic seasonal produce, but it will destroy even more farmers' livelihoods. As for people looking for alternatives and ending up at the other non-supermarket schemes themselves, that's doubtful - there won't be an alternative left.

I highly recommend Joanna Blythman's Shopped if you want to learn more about why supermarkets are so bad. There's also the Breaking the Armlock campaign.

Anyone concerned about organic food shouldn't be giving any of their custom to Sainsbury's in the first place. Lord Sainsbury is one of the main people pushing for GM crops in Britain.


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