Apple ranks highest among Greenpeace’s top tech companies

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As the contented user of a somewhat elderly second hand Macbook, I was pleased to read that the back and forth battle between Greenpeace and Apple which has been going on for years has finally started to fizzle out. In its new report, Greenpeace ranked Apple as its No. 1 company.

The ranking guide gives consumers an idea of how Greenpeace feels the top 18 consumer electronics companies in the world stack up. The rankings give the companies a gold star for eliminating the most harmful chemicals from their products.

The categories listed on the Greenpeace ranking guide are Desktops, Notebooks, Phones andMonitors. “Apple has virtually eliminated toxic PVC and BFRs across the entire product range,” the chart reads.

Read more here.

Tesco launches recycled clothing collection

The news that Tesco have collaborated with an ethical fashion label to create a line of recycled clothing for the Florence & Fred label may raise a few eyebrows. So, perhaps, might the fact that the collection – just six pieces – is made from end of line Tesco stock which would otherwise end up in landfill, and is being produced in one of the most environmentally-friendly factories in the world.

The idea came from the supermarket giant after a visit to From Somewhere’s collection at Estethica, the London fashion week ethical fashion showcase.

Tesco’s plan is to recycle waste within its own supply chain while still keeping its fashion credentials. The clothes are being produced in a “green” factory in Sri Lanka – the first in the world to be awarded a gold rating for environmental responsiblity by LEED, the international green building certification system.

But while the benefits for Tesco are obvious – associating themselves with a commitment to environmental responsibility and recycling – why would one of the UK’s most respected ethical fashion labels agree to team up with a global giant not generally known a light carbon footprint?

The From Somewhere and Estethica founder and designer, Orsola de Castro, said she took the view that reclaiming and “upcycling” fabric should be made more accessible, and that any effort by huge retailers to take responsibility for their waste should be encouraged.

“Making the world’s second-biggest clothes manufacturer start to look at their own rubbish is the same. It looks odd, but it will become part of the norm. Of course, right now this minute it is more of a marketing excercise, but at least it’s a greenwash at 30 degrees – it will take a long time to make the industry take responsibility and truly improve.”

The collection itself is true to From Somewhere’s signature look, with body-con shapes and bright colours that will appeal to the teenage and twentysomething market. The prices, which start at £16, are attractive too.

Recent months have been tough for ethical fashion, with Ascension (formerly Adili) forced to suspend shares and subsequently being sold to an investor for a token £1. And while sceptics may frown at the collaboration, Orsola argues that anything that gets ethical fashion into the mainstream can only help. People Tree’s recent collaboration with the film star Emma Watson, for instance, brought an explosion in sales for the company.

This most recent collaboration also follows more recent efforts by Tesco to improve their green image. Last month, the company opened its first carbon zero store in Ramsey, Cambridgeshire, and pledged to spend more than £100m with green technology companies..

You can read the whole article in The Guardian here.

Will Sheringham have a Tesco or an Eco Store?

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Sheringham awaits its fate. As North Norfolk District Council decides whether to permit a new Tesco supermarket in the heart of this largely unspoiled seaside town, or to approve a rival proposal for a new form of an environmentally friendly food store set on the edge of the town centre and championed by Clive Hay-Smith, a local farmer.

Surely anyone with an ounce of sentiment for Sheringham would choose the latter? In any case, Hay-Smith’s planning application, which will ultimately have cost him £2m, is a happily radical departure from the model of town-wrecking supermarkets that, dimly, has guided the planning officers and planning committees of councils throughout Britain over the last decade.

If Hay-Smith’s altruistic and elegant offering of a supermarket, supplying locally sourced food and combined with a food academy (to celebrate local food and to encourage local people keen to cook imaginatively and well) and free allotments is given the thumbs down, what hope is there for similar proposals anywhere else?

Read the rest of Jonathan Glancey’s article THE TESCO CUMPS OF NORFOLK from The Guardian on Tuesday 2nd March

Find out the result here !!!

We’re watching this application in Nofork closely as there are applications here in East Devon for more supermarkets. We’re having an East Devon Greens meeting on Wed 31st March in Ottery St Mary where we’re hoping to have a speaker from the group who are fighting the supermarket proposal over there.

Did anyone see….’The End of the Line’ last night?

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Thanks to Geoff (East Devon Greens) for suggesting watching The End of the Line last night. I was happily having my usual Saturday night veggie curry when the blood started flowing or should I say literally gushing. As an ex vet nurse I’m not squeamish in the slightest, but I was shocked by the way it was filmed to show the worldwide fishing industry to be an extremely desperate, avaricious affair. The horrific scenes of the glorious blue-fin tuna being hunted with huge nets, dragged on board and hacked to pieces (while still alive and flipping about) were enough to turn anyone’s stomach I’m sure.

The End of the Line is Rupert Murray’s acclaimed film, which examines the consequences of unchecked, unregulated sea fishing across the globe. The documentary reveals how chronic overfishing could lead to the total extinction of the wild fish many humans rely on for food, within 50 years.

It is not a film about what might happen, it is a film about what has happened. The collapse of the cod population, in Newfoundland, saw the end of 40,000 jobs; the bluefin tuna is being hunted to extinction; it takes five kilos of anchovies to produce one fish farmed salmon. And while there are some positive signs, with retailers such as Walmart and McDonalds both selling fish from sustainable sources, some outlets still sell endangered species. The final chilling conclusion is, unless more radical steps are taken globally, including the reduction of overfishing, it will take just 50 years for the world’s oceans to be all fished out.

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Read more……

Ten Terrifying Facts about the fish we eat

Hugh’s Guide to sustainable British fish

Charles Glover’s Fish2Fork blog can tell you which restaurants try to serve sustainable fish and work with fishermen to lower their impact on the sea. It can also tell you which restaurants go on serving endangered species and make no attempt to work with their suppliers to avoid by-catch, or endangered or over-fished species

PLEASE ADD YOUR COMMENTS BELOW – WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT THE FISHING CRISIS? Me and my children are vegetarian so don’t eat fish but we do give it to our cats and my dog adores fish. I will be making an effort from now on to only buy sustainable fish for them.

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Vertical Farming – a sustainable solution to the world’s rapidly diminishing resources

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I was watching the BBC news this morning and saw an interesting article on vertical farming. My ears pricked up when the farmer explained that vertical farming could be used to farm more locally.
The UK’s first vertical farmer Chris Bradford says “We can put them right inside cities close to the markets, cut down on food miles, and we can put them in warehouses, on top of high rise buildings, just about anywhere there is a usable space.

A British zoo is running a “vertical farming” trial, which could produce up to 20 times as many crops as conventional methods. Renewable energy and recycled water means the system needs only 5% of the typical amount of water, while freeing up valuable land. The system grows plants in trays of water moving on a conveyor belt.
The company behind the first trial is Valcent, based in Launceston, Cornwall, who think it will be a sustainable solution to the world’s “rapidly-diminishing resources.”

See BBC newsclip – Vertical Farming Trial

Sidmouth Community Market backs “Meat-Free Monday” campaign

On Saturday 16 January, the Vision Group for Sidmouth will be holding a Community Market with a difference! This time the event will have a “meat-free” theme, to raise awareness of the climate-changing impact of meat production and consumption and provide information on the wide variety of alternatives to meat-based meals.

Many people are unaware that livestock production is responsible for at least 18% of global greenhouse gas emissions – that’s more than the entire transport sector. According to the head of the UN climate change panel, Rajendra Pachauri, “People should consider eating less meat as a way of combating global warming.”

In May 2009, Ghent City Council in Belgium attracted worldwide media and public attention when it announced that it would promote one meat-free day a week for environmental and health reasons. Meanwhile, the “Meat-Free Monday” campaign continues to snowball around the world, led by high-profile chefs and celebrities including Sir Paul McCartney.

Now Sidmouth too is doing its bit to support this important initiative. According to the market organisers, “Going meat-free one day a week is an easy step we can all take to reduce our carbon footprint – and it’s good for your health, too!”

The market takes place as usual from 10 am – 12.30 pm at St John’s Ambulance Hall. In addition to fresh fruit and vegetables and the other usual stalls, shoppers will find a vegetarian food stall, information on meat-free alternatives, recipes and free food samples.

For further information on the “Meat-Free Monday” campaign including weekly recipes, see www.supportmfm.org

Tetrapak Recycling in East Devon

My little boy finished off the orange juice this morning, showed me the carton and said “Can we recycle this Mummy?” What a clever 4 year old!!! Now I know our kerbside collection doesn’t include juice cartons so I used www.recyclenow.com to look up how and where we could recycle drinks cartons here in East Devon. Cartons are now collected by over 370 local authorities across the country, which equates to 86 per cent of UK and Guernsey local authority areas.

Recyclenow advised me to use www.tetrapakrecycling.co.uk. I used the Where Can I Recycle button at the top of their site to look up where cartons are collected in my area and found this info below:

Picture 1The nearest place for us is Honiton so we’ve started a collection of tetrapaks. Now we just need to work out what to do with the plastic milk bottles!! Anyone?

Co-op Helping Fairtrade Fortnight in South West

The Co-operative Group is hoping to make Fairtrade Fortnight 2010 the biggest and best ever in the South West. It is offering a total of £40,000 to community groups to ensure their Fairtrade events such as fashion shows, coffee mornings and wine tastings are a great success.

The consumer-owned retailer has been a strong supporter of the Fairtrade movement for many years, since becoming the first high street retailer to list Cafedirect back in 1992. Now The Co-operative stocks the widest range of Fairtrade grocery products of any UK supermarket with 230 different lines.

To mark its support for Fairtrade Fortnight (22 February – 7 March 2010) and its ethical approach to business, The Co-operative’s membership department will share out a pot of £50,000 to community groups from Worcester to Wadebridge and Portsmouth to Portishead, to ensure their 2010 Fairtrade Fortnight celebrations are the best ever.

Co-operative and membership officer Pete Vallance said: “As the UK’s largest mutual retailer, we have been at the forefront of developing Fairtrade products and promoting the principles of Fairtrade. Our sales figures show how important Fairtrade is to our customers and, thanks to their continued support, we can ensure a better deal for growers in developing countries whose families can also look forward to a better future.

“This year, we are particularly pleased to be able to offer community groups throughout the South West a helping hand in making 2010 their best Fairtrade Fortnight ever. So if they’re organising events to raise the awareness of the support given to developing countries through Fairtrade, we look forward to hearing from them.”

To apply for a Fairtrade Fortnight 2010 grant please visit: www.co-operative.coop/membership/news/South-West/ or telephone the regional office on 01884 266892. The closing date for applications is 13 January 2010.

Click here to read the original article in the Midweek Herald

Nigel’s Eco Store

Stumbled upon a great webstore advertised on The People’s Republic of South Devon website. Nigel’s Eco Store is full of fantastic green shopping ideas like Soapnut Shells, an eco friendly, natural and organic way to wash your clothes and a whole range of solar ipod/mobile phone chargers (a particularly gorgeous silver version pictured below). Eco kettles are a revelation too and I really must have an eco stapler in my office (pictured above)! According to Wasteonline “If everyone in UK offices saved just one staple a day, we’d save 72 tonnes of metal a year”.

I particularly like Nigel’s helpful articles like How to Have a Green Christmas and Reduce your Carbon Footprint: Nigel’s Top 10 Energy Saving Tips for the Home. Great site – we’ll ask Nigel for a donation towards a raffle we’ll hold at our next event to raise funds for the East Devon Greens – what do you say Nigel? Can you spare anything for our Green Raffle?