Wednesday, June 30, 2010

More supermarket trolley politics...

Further to my previous post about the paucity of available sustainably fished tuna in Australia, I found around $8.00 for a tiny tin! Think I'll stick with going without for the time being, but if you love your tuna so much its worth the premium, check it out at I came across this at the local organic farmer's market we've been going to each Saturday morning. Contrary to my previous assumptions, the fruit and veg here is actually not all that much more expensive than that available at the local supermarket. And they taste so much better! They also have stalls selling 'upcycled' goods and the obligatory rock crystal deoderants and, newly, a cafe selling excellent coffee (organic fairtrade of course) in compostable cups. Eco-geek heaven.

As if things at the supermarket weren't ethically fraught enough, I've just become aware of another issue to bear in mind - palm oil! Apparently the vast majority of our palm oil is sourced from plantations in Malaysia and Indonesia. Unfortunately the clearing of native rainforest for palm oil plantations is apparently the main cause of loss of Orangutan habitat. For more details check out the Perth Zoo campaign website at

Palm oil is used in up to 50% of processed consumer products - from chocolate to shampoo. I went to buy some supposedly 'green' dishwashing liquid the other day - until I saw that it had palm oil in it. Unfortunately in Australia we're generally currently kept none the wiser as to what contains palm oil and what doesn't - usually it will just be labelled as 'vegetable oil' (which could be pretty much anything). A 'Truth In Labelling Palm Oil Bill' will be brought before our Australian Parliament in August of this year. If successful, all products containing palm oil will have to be labelled as such. This will give the consumer the opportunity to put pressure on manufacters to use only Certified Sustainable Palm Oil (CSPO). Worth a letter to the local MP, I think. In the meanttime, a 'Scorecard' has been produced by WWF rating different companies according to the sustainability of their palm oil use - check it out at

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