In the News

Unhealthy Flowers: Why Buying Organic Should Not End With Your Food


In recent years conscious consumers have enjoyed a spike in the availability of socially and environmentally responsible products. Worried about sweatshop shoes? Try on a pair of Adbusters' Blackspot sneakers. Concerned that your clothes were made in a dismal factory where the workers are paid starvation wages? Go with an American Apparel T-shirt or a No Sweat hoodie. If pesticide residues on your vegetables and hormone-laced meat are your worry, then head for the organic section at the supermarket.

For Americans, Giving Roses Is a Foreign Affair

New York Times via Dow Jones

If you are giving or receiving roses this Valentine's Day, chances are that they came from the same countries that produced your coffee. Nearly 90 percent of all roses sold in the United States are imported, and most of those come from Colombia. Other major rose importers include Ecuador, Mexico and Guatemala.

In future years, the same country that produces your tea may fill your vases with roses: China has made it a national priority to become one of the world's major rose exporters...  

Death by chocolate

Sunday Business Post (Ireland)

Excerpt from article: 

...‘‘I tried to run away, but I was caught . . . as punishment, they cut my feet, and I had to work for weeks while my wounds healed. I stayed in a large room with other Malian children from a neighbouring plantation.”

This was how a young boy from Mali, said he was lured to a cocoa farm in the Ivory Coast.

This was how he described his plight on videotape to a US court. He was one of the plaintiffs in a 2005 case brought by a US advocacy organisation, the International Labour Rights Fund...




Every Rose Has Its Thorn

Utne Magazine

Excerpt from article:

Analyzed by the most soulful of poets and adored tenderly by the most perfunctory of scientists, flowers have resounded through the ages as emblems of beauty, sex, and love -- the ideal token of affection for a sweetie or loved one. Yet the modern commercial flower and the $40 billion a year industry behind it have a sinister side that might just change the way you say "be mine" this Valentine's Day.

In flowers, too, green is the new red

San Francisco Chronicle

Walk into any supermarket and you'll find products that satisfy not only your taste buds but your values, too. Fair Trade coffee and chocolate, organic apples and free-range eggs are becoming mainstream thanks to the demands of socially and environmentally responsible shoppers. But what about those flowers in buckets near the cash register? Where did those come from? Under what conditions were they grown?

The Ghost of Debt and Modern-Day Slavery in Liberia

The Cable (The College of St. Scholastica)

By Lorena Rodriguez

“Imagine… a 10 year old child forced to carry 70 pounds of rubber using a stick and two pails several times a day. Because of these harsh conditions, the children cannot fully grow up physically and mentally. They are being used as beasts of burden.”

- From speech by Alfred Brownell, LL.M., President of Green Advocates,

Monrovia, Liberia, 24 January 2007

'Real Toy Story' reveals dark side of toy industry

USA Today

Making and selling toys isn't exactly fun and games.

In fact, The Real Toy Story paints the industry as a shiny apple that is practically rotten to the core.

And if that apple were a toy, a company would make it out of plastic in a Chinese sweatshop for 45 cents, tie it in with a movie or TV show, sell it for $9.99 at Wal-Mart and hope that the kid who wound up with it would nag his parents to buy the rest of the line.... 

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Bill targets U.S. companies profiting from sweatshops overseas

McClatchy Newspapers


WASHINGTON - A bipartisan group of senators introduced legislation Tuesday aimed at preventing American companies from profiting from the use of foreign sweatshops and other unfair labor practices abroad.

Sen. Lindsey Graham, a South Carolina Republican, joined four Democrats and independent Sen. Bernard Sanders of Vermont in sponsoring a bill that would allow U.S. firms to sue competitors that they believe are selling imported products made in overseas sweatshops.