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SUSTANAIBLE COSUMPTION

One of our classmates, Uxue Garay (2nd degree) thought it was a good idea to investigate the origin of the clothes we usually buy. In the same line, another student, Araitz Romo defended a research related with the origin of furniture. As we are a certain number of students, finally, we decided to investigate the origin of the different products we use. 

So, in the following weeks, all of us have been working in small groups. Every group had to study a different kind of article and, once the research was made, they were explaining it to the other groups by using a Power Point. Moreover, they also designed some posters in order to communicate the results to our schoolmates. Finally, the last weeks, we have been organizing some speeches we will give in our town and a second hand market. 

 

1. CLOTHES

There are a lot of brands in the clothing industry that don’t respect the human and workers’ rights. We call those ones “Black Brands”.

Several human rights as minimum salaries, no violence, children work, maximum work shit, responsible use of the unhealthy materials, and so on are not being respected. Of course, there are some brands better than others, but, generally, they don’t respect the minimum standardizes for an ethical production.

Among the worst brands we can find some ones which are really famous and which control the market and the fashion worldwide: Nike, Primark, Adidas and Inditex (Zara, Stradivarius, Bershka…).

In the following table we have made a comparison of some of the better known brands:

    TRADE BRAND     / NOT RESPECTED HUMAN RIGHTS

 

   NIKE

NO VIOLENCE

MINIMUN SALARY

MAXIMUN WORK SHIT

  ADIDAS

NO VIOLENCE

MINIMUN SALARY

MAXIMUN WORK SHIT

  INDITEX

NO VIOLENCE

MINIMUN SALARY

MAXIMUN WORK SHIT

 HOW CAN WE IMPROVE THIS SITUATION?

Although it is difficult, we must try to buy clothes form brands which respect the human rights. If we don’t buy the Black Brands we have other options, more involved with the ecology and the ethics. Some of those brands are Compañía Fantástica, Ecoalf and People Tree.

Moreover, there are some shops where we can find this kind of sustainable brands. Moiqut is the example we have here in Bilbao. It is a shop which only sells ecologic clothes and human rights friendly brands. Surfing in the internet we have also found some of this eco-shops on.line, Ethical is a good example to try on.

Common, try to buy eco-friendly!!!

 

2. ELECTRONICS

What is the problem?

Coltan and litio are two minerals really useful in the electronics’ world. They are usually got in mines where the human rights are not respected. The 80% of the world’s coltan is located in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Coltan is the material used for the batteries of the laptops, mobile phones, tablets and so on.

The work conditions in the mines of Congo are not good at all. In those mines men, women and even children work to take out the coltan and sell them to enterprises as Bayer. Their salary is not even the laws marks as the minimum one.

CONSEQUENCES

Miners work in really hard and bad conditions in those mines and as a consequence, thousands of them die every year. Their salaries are low and they must work very long shits. Moreover, there is not a proper security system in those mines and lacks of oxygen, accidents and healthy problems are really common.

 

BLACK BRANDS

As always, among the mobile brands there are differences. Some of them are worse than others, but, sadly, most of them don’t behave really properly. In order to classify them three aspects are takin into account: respect the environment, respect the human rights and the way of getting the minerals. If we compare the most famous brands:

  • Apple: half-level: they don’t totally respect the nature, but if we compare it with its competitors, it is maybe the best brand in this aspect. Same thing happens with the other two factors: they don’t behave as good as they should, but, they do much better than other similar brands.

  • Lenovo: need to improve: it is the best brand if we take into account the environment factor, but they don’t care about human rights at all, and similar about the way the get their minerals.

  • HTC: really bad: it is the worst one we have investigated. They don’t respect nature or human rights during the production and neither they do while taking out the minerals.

GOOD BRANDS

Once our investigation made, we can conclude that the best options to buy a mobile phone are Nokia, and specially Fairphone.

Fairphone is a really good option because as it name says, the produce fair, therefore it is more expensive than its competitors. However, even if we can afford the price, it is harder to find it because it is only sold in some countries and the only option is to buy it through the internet in web pages as Amazon.

You can find the whole classification in this link:  https://www.carrodecombate.com/2014/09/12/hay-sangre-en-tu-mvil-una-nueva-clasificacin-de-marcas/

 

WHAT CAN WE DO?

When buying a new mobile phone, we can choose Fairphone. This brand produces its mobiles taking into account both the environment, and the human rights in all the production chain. Therefore, all the components they use have been got in an ethic and green way. If we bought this kind of mobiles, the other brands would realize our consume is changing and they would adapt their products to the new tendencies of purchase.

3. FOOD INDUSTRY

What is the problem?

Food industry presents three different and really hard problems:

  1. Most of the cheapest products contain

toxic ingredients as palm oil and a lot of aditives and preservatives.

  1. In order to get the raw materials as cheap as possible, human rights are not respected in the plantations,

  2. Supermarkets make a lot of pressure to get best prices, and therefore, they don’t respect workers’ rights during the production.

BLACK BRANDS

A lot of brands don’t respect the environment or the human rights during the production, and in most of the cases any of both. In the following lines we can read some of these brands we have investigated:

  1. Nocilla: they have an advertisement saying “now without palm oil”, so, that means before the campaign against this ingredient, they used to add it to their final product.

  2. Chiquita: according to the Black brands’ book, this brand doesn’t respect the human rights in the plantations it works with, getting the bananas as cheap as possible.

  3. Aldi supermarkets: according to this reference book, this supermarket, in order to get really competitive prices, doesn’t pay any attention to workers’ rights not during the distribution and neither in their shops.

WHAT CAN WE DO?

We have two different options to avoid the explained situations happen in the food industry, or to try to minimize them:

  1. Buying “eco”

There are a lot of ecologic products in the shops and supermarkets. This ones have been produced respecting the environment and the human rights, so, if the other brands saw consumers buy this kind of products, they would adapt their production in this way.

  1. Buying “good brands”

Ecologic products are usually more expensive than the usual ones. As a consequence, a lot of families can’t afford buying them. Among these ones, we should choose those which don’t contribute to increase the problems we have explained. The following brands are classified as “good” because they don’t increase these problems:

   Alpro

   Alvalle

   Aquarius

   Artiach

   Bicentury

 BIMBO

   Calvo

   ecoSANA

El Granero Integral

Although, a lot of food products have a common problem: they are not really healthy. Therefore, in order to know which ones are more natural or healthier, we can use Yuka application. This free app scans the barcodes and gives us information about all the ingredients the products have, also proposing better alternatives.

 

4. CLEANING PRODUCTS

While making the cleaning products, a lot of chemist products and toxic products are used. That is, the cleaning products we use present some health risks as burnings or irritations. So, people working in this kind of factories, have bigger risks than us. There are also some risks for nature: usually liquids used in the production go to the rivers and from them to the sea. Once there, fish become sick and finally we eat those fish. Therefore, we are damaging our health by damaging all the food chain.

In order to avoid these problems or to minimize them we can:

  1.   Buy natural products: some cleaning products are ecologic and therefore, they are not damaging. We can find this kind of products in BiziSlow shop in Barakaldo.

  2.   Make our own cleaning products: here you are some options:

DETERGENT

  • 3 lemons
  • 200 salt g.
  • 250 water ml.
  • 60 soap gr.
  • 300 white vinegar ml.
  • 50 gr of bicarbonate of soda

Preparation: cut the lemons in four pieces and mix them with the salt. Heat the water in another pan and add the soap. Finally, add the lemon, vinegar and salt. Heat this mix during 10 minutes with low fire. Once finished, whip it and leave it to get it cold. When it is soft put it into a container. It is important to use ecologic ingredients.

 

LEMON DEGREASING PRODUCT

  • 250 water ml.
  • 250 alcohol ml.
  • 250 lemon juice ml.
  • 2 spoons of bicarbonate soda
  • Funnel
  • Cristal bottle

Preparation: field the bottle with the bicarbonate by using the funnel. Then, add the water really slowly and do the same one with the alcohol. Finally, once the bicarbonate dissolved, add the lemon juice, whip it and it will be done.

 

BIODEGRADABLE DETERGENT

  • A piece of coconut
  • 2 lemons
  • 2 spoons of ammonia

Preparation: cut the coconut in small pieces and add 5 water litres. Juice the lemons and mix the ammonia. Mix everything and whip it.