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Ethical Shopping Pressures Mo‍‍‍re Ethics in Business‍‍‍

Over the years, and es‍‍‍pecially since the 1980s, people have been making an ever-increasing impact on the way governments and companies behave in all parts of the world. These are just a few examples:

The campaign against testing cosmetics on animals changed the behaviour of nearly all the main cosmetics companies.

A boycott in the US against Heinz forced the company to stop catching tuna with purse-seine fishing nets, which used to kill tens of thousands of dolphins each year. It also led to the introduction of the ‘dolphin friendly’ logo.
In 1991, Friends of the Earth launched a campaign against the stocking of tropical timber from unsustainable sources by the six largest DIY chains – the campaign eventually became a general boycott, and by 1994 all six had agreed to stop selling mahogany.

Probably the most dramatic single environmental boycott was Greenpeace’s campaign in 1995 against the dumping of Shell’s oil platform Brent Spar – sales of Shell petrol went down by 70 per cent in some German outlets and the company gave in after only a few days.

Increasing numbers of clothing companies and sports shoe manufacturers have adopted codes of conduct to protect the conditions of the workers making their goods.

The success of socially responsible companies Green & Blacks and The Body Shop has led to their high profile takeovers, by Cadbury’s and L’Oreal respectively. Although controversial, these take-overs suggest that big businesses are beginning to see ethical commitments as an asset.

Ethical shopping and relevant social pressure encouraged the phasing out of the worst ozone-depleting and greenhouse gases used in fridges and freezers. In 1994, Electrolux followed manufacturers Bosch, Siemens, Liebherr and AEG in replacing ozone-damaging HCFCs and HFCs with hydrocarbons.

The UK campaign against genetically modified (GM) foods was so successful that the leading companies changed their policies. Eight supermarket chains in the UK now sell their own GM-free own-brands.

A general boycott of fruit, wine and other products from apartheid South Africa helped to free Nelson Mandela and bring about democratic change.

The first edition of The Good Shopping Guide sold out in just three months, showing there is a real demand for reliable ethical information on the world’s companies and brands.

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