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The Rough Guide to Ethical Shopping                                  
The issues, the products, the companies
By Duncan Clark
Penguin Books

 

The Rough Guide to Ethical ShoppingClark writes in the introduction that ‘Ethical shopping - and ethical consumerism in general - is about taking responsibility for your day-to-day impact upon the world’ and that it is ‘…taking the time to learn a little about how your lifestyle affects people, planet and animals, and making your own decisions about what constitutes an ethical or unethical purchase.’

This little book holds a power of information to help you do just that.  It covers five approaches to ethical shopping such as Fair Trade and Buy Local, discussing each one and the potential merits and downsides to consumers putting them into practice.  There is a chapter on who we should buy from, covering issues like sweatshops and oppressive regimes.

The book then covers a wide range of goods and services including food and drink, clothes, household goods, travel and even finance.  It explores the pros and cons of the various ways people can shop and who they can shop from.  Throughout the book there are accompanying facts and figures on for example what companies do and don’t test on animals and the common screening criteria for ethical finance.  Numerous website and contact details are included for those wanting further information and ethical products.

It is apparent reading this book that ethical shopping is not as clear-cut as it may first appear and that there are numerous issues to consider when trying to shop with a clear conscience.

Although the book is written primarily for a United Kingdom audience it’s themes are universal and relevant to New Zealand consumers.  The writer gives the facts and figures and discusses the issues but leaves it to the reader to decide the most ethical way for them to shop.  Well written and informative this book could be used as a quick reference guide or as a cover-to-cover sit down read.  In A5 format and printed on 100% recycled fibre. Penguin Books.





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