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The ‘nude food’ revolution: an investment for our future

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Down in a quirky bar in the hippy, trippy surf town of Byron Bay on Australia’s east coast, another artist got to the stage. I am pretty arty and open-minded, but this night had been more hippy and trippy than most, so when a man climbed up carrying a small bin, and we were told that before his performance he would tell us about his project, my heart did sink a little. 

But that bin and its story captivated me so much that I actually tracked down the owner in the people’s supermarket in which he works, to find out more. Concerned by our rising oceans, damaged environment and human health, and aware of how not only what we eat but how that food is eaten, produced and packaged affects the ecosystem, Paul Creber has set up Byron Bay’s Nude Your Food collective, now in its second year and making strong traction.

Creber is founder and director of the collective set up to encourage individuals to each take responsibility for being part of a movement that will shape our future food system. He aims to cease any further environmental degradation caused by what he sees as the current broken food system; especially in regards to plastic pollution and the health risks associated with the leaching of chemicals in food. 

I had a chat with him about the project; the excessive use of packaging in our food production and what this says about the companies who run it; the idea of reusing and the concept of waste; and whether change is possible.

How much rubbish did you collect in one year again?

In one year I collected 40 litres of uncompressed plastic waste – so 20 two-litre milk bottles to give a good visual, or two small waste paper bins. [According to the Waste Management Institute, the average person in a high income society generates 550kg of waste per year].

The ‘nude food’ label isn’t new, and the idea has been around for a while. What more can you offer?

It has been around for a while and from my understanding has predominantly been focused on the health side of ‘nude food’ in that whole foods and fresh foods, without additives, preservatives and high sugar or salt content, are more nutritious and better for us and provide us with the best tools to thrive with.

Nude Your Food takes this idea much further and is about us as individuals taking responsibility and taking action towards a ‘nude food’ revolution, and focusing on the wider picture – the connectivity of our food system to the health of our planet and our species.

This is done through education programmes and workshops, and by utilising our purchasing power to support the organisations that support us, our communities and our health, rather than shopping at supermarkets who offer plastic packaged everything with little concern for our health or the planets.

You have very high aims for the collective. Is change really possible? 

My vision is that if we do this collectively with each individual taking responsibility for sharing, disseminating and taking action towards the concepts of Nude Your Food, then as we have seen the deterioration of our food system occur in only one generation, we can see the creation of a sustainable healthy food system also occur within one generation.

Therefore our grandkids won’t be left with disease and food-related illnesses our current western population is riddled with.  But it’s only going to happen if we do it collectively.

Photo: Chrissi Nerantzi

If we as individuals recognise there is a problem with plastic pollution, harmful preservatives and additives in food, toxic chemicals being sprayed on food, farmers committing suicide globally or how children are targeted with marketing campaigns for unhealthy food then we really should take responsibility to do something about it.

It’s very easy to do and there is definitely something we can all do today, from shopping differently or sharing the message on social media.

Can people make a difference by just doing one thing, for example taking sandwiches to work rather than buying a pre-packed one, or is a full lifestyle change needed? Is it all or nothing? 

I think every step is a positive one. The biggest difference people can make however is to become aware of plastic in their everyday life and stop purchasing plastic without taking notice of the waste left behind when what’s inside is unwrapped.

Once you see the ludicrousness of, for example, some supermarket chains wrapping lettuce in plastic for us to buy ‘for convenience’, it seems that they have little care for this planet and instead they are only about money in the pocket – which sadly has led to the massive plastic soup that surrounds us now, formerly known as the ocean.

A polluted beach in Malaysia. Photo: epSos.de via Flickr

It may be more expensive at times but it’s an investment for our future that to me is a much better way to spend your money than other luxury items we may be tempted to buy.

It strikes me as a case of just behaving like we would have 60 or 70 years ago. Are humans overcomplicating things? 

It’s not even that long. It was in 1962 that plastic started being used for wrapping food and it took a few decades to become the norm, so it’s not going back that far at all.

In one way, humans have definitely overcomplicated things, including the food we eat and how it is sourced. With the great permaculture and urban farming knowledge that is spreading, we can all be growing food in our homes, on our streets and basically anywhere there is sun, water and some dirt.

Think about all those parks that the council spends so much money on mowing lawns – would they not be better returned to food producing forests for all to eat, share and enjoy?

Imagine if we could source all our food from our homes, streets and public spaces like they have done in Todmorden, United Kingdom – now that’s an inspiring collective movement.

I do think many of us have got reliant and very trustworthy of companies whose sole and necessary motive is profit as per their business structure. Unfortunately what has happened with this however is quality has diminished to reduce costs and instead been replaced with fake foods, additives, chemicals, colourful packaging, catchy marketing and advertising jargon.

The majority of us have trusted large profit-driven corporations to be putting our health before their profit, and sadly this is not the case.

What successes have there been? Prove that this can work!

Personally I have had great success in removing plastic from my purchasing and becoming more aware of the choices I have in regards to my purchases – such as fruit boxes, community sponsored agriculture, co-ops and farmers’ markets. Further to this, I have discovered so many creative ways to not use plastic when it comes to food and bathrooms and have basically removed it from these areas of my life as well.

As a community, we have had great success in our intended outcomes, and also with more people opting for simply taking jars to do their shopping, filling them and returning home without any packaging and waste.

Sunseed Food Co-op, Florida. Photo: Rusty Clark via Flickr

In the eight months since launching, multiple community organisations have got behind our cause and continue to share the information we share, which is a great start.

Our school programme also resulted in children becoming completely responsible for any waste that they take with them to school; they now take it back home with them rather than disposing of it at school.

Imagine if people realised that ‘throw away’ is actually just to throw somewhere else – and their plastic waste will be on this planet for 500 years plus.

The school landfill bins were removed from the playground which was a great win, and this October sees our second ‘challenge’ – a multi-faceted community programme that utilises the power of collective action to encourage more sustainable, local and healthy food options and raises funds for local school canteens to educate children to reuse rather than dispose.

We will be working with bulk wholefoods stores across Australia (and have a few international stores in our sites too) who will provide a discount on bulk food throughout the month of October, therefore enticing participation.

Community participants will aim to purchase zero (or as little as possible) plastic during the month and will apply a self-imposed fine for any plastic they do purchase; they will be encouraged to gain sponsorship to do so.

Paul Creber runs Byron Bay’s Nude Your Food. If you are interested in the project, or the idea of reducing packaging and waste, visit www.nudeyourfood.com.

Francesca Baker is curious about life and enjoys writing about it. A freelance journalist, event organiser, and minor marketing whizz, she has plenty of ideas, and likes to share them. She writes about music, literature, life, travel, art, London, and other general musings, and organises events that contain at least one of the above. You can find out more at www.andsoshethinks.co.uk.

Further reading:

We need to use Grandma as inspiration to bring sustainability back into food

The Pig Idea: campaign looks to pigs to tackle food waste

Up to 40% of food wasted because of ‘ugliness’

Cleaning up our oceans: a journey from waste to wear

Declining health of oceans of ‘gravest concern’ to life on Earth

Francesca Baker is curious about life and enjoys writing about it. A freelance journalist, event organiser, and minor marketing whizz, she has plenty of ideas, and likes to share them. She writes about music, literature, life, travel, art, London, and other general musings, and organises events that contain at least one of the above. You can find out more at www.andsoshethinks.co.uk.

Economy

How Going Green Can Save A Company Money

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going green can save company money
Shutterstock Licensed Photot - By GOLFX

What is going green?

Going green means to live life in a way that is environmentally friendly for an entire population. It is the conservation of energy, water, and air. Going green means using products and resources that will not contaminate or pollute the air. It means being educated and well informed about the surroundings, and how to best protect them. It means recycling products that may not be biodegradable. Companies, as well as people, that adhere to going green can help to ensure a safer life for humanity.

The first step in going green

There are actually no step by step instructions for going green. The only requirement needed is making the decision to become environmentally conscious. It takes a caring attitude, and a willingness to make the change. It has been found that companies have improved their profit margins by going green. They have saved money on many of the frivolous things they they thought were a necessity. Besides saving money, companies are operating more efficiently than before going green. Companies have become aware of their ecological responsibility by pursuing the knowledge needed to make decisions that would change lifestyles and help sustain the earth’s natural resources for present and future generations.

Making needed changes within the company

After making the decision to go green, there are several things that can be changed in the workplace. A good place to start would be conserving energy used by electrical appliances. First, turning off the computer will save over the long run. Just letting it sleep still uses energy overnight. Turn off all other appliances like coffee maker, or anything that plugs in. Pull the socket from the outlet to stop unnecessary energy loss. Appliances continue to use electricity although they are switched off, and not unplugged. Get in the habit of turning off the lights whenever you leave a room. Change to fluorescent light bulbs, and lighting throughout the building. Have any leaks sealed on the premises to avoid the escape of heat or air.

Reducing the common paper waste

paper waste

Shutterstock Licensed Photo – By Yury Zap

Modern technologies and state of the art equipment, and tools have almost eliminated the use of paper in the office. Instead of sending out newsletters, brochures, written memos and reminders, you can now do all of these and more by technology while saving on the use of paper. Send out digital documents and emails to communicate with staff and other employees. By using this virtual bookkeeping technique, you will save a bundle on paper. When it is necessary to use paper for printing purposes or other services, choose the already recycled paper. It is smartly labeled and easy to find in any office supply store. It is called the Post Consumer Waste paper, or PCW paper. This will show that your company is dedicated to the preservation of natural resources. By using PCW paper, everyone helps to save the trees which provides and emits many important nutrients into the atmosphere.

Make money by spreading the word

Companies realize that consumers like to buy, or invest in whatever the latest trend may be. They also cater to companies that are doing great things for the quality of life of all people. People want to know that the companies that they cater to are doing their part for the environment and ecology. By going green, you can tell consumers of your experiences with helping them and communities be eco-friendly. This is a sound public relations technique to bring revenue to your brand. Boost the impact that your company makes on the environment. Go green, save and make money while essentially preserving what is normally taken for granted. The benefits of having a green company are enormous for consumers as well as the companies that engage in the process.

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Economy

Report: Green, Ethical and Socially Responsible Finance

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“The level of influence that ethical considerations have over consumer selection of financial services products and services is minimal, however, this is beginning to change. Younger consumers are more willing to pay extra for products provided by socially responsible companies.” Jessica Morley, Mintel’s Financial Services Analyst.

Consumer awareness of the impact consumerism has on society and the planet is increasing. In addition, the link between doing good and feeling good has never been clearer. Just 19% of people claim to not participate in any socially responsible activities.

As a result, the level of attention that people pay to the green and ethical claims made by products and providers is also increasing, meaning that such considerations play a greater role in the purchasing decision making process.

However, this is less true in the context of financial services, where people are much more concerned about the performance of a product rather than green and ethical factors. This is not to say, however, that they are not interested in the behaviour of financial service providers or in gaining more information about how firms behave responsibly.

This report focuses on why these consumer attitudes towards financial services providers exist and how they are changing. This includes examination of the wider economy and the current structure of the financial services sector.

Mintel’s exclusive consumer research looks at consumer participation in socially responsible activities, trust in the behaviour of financial services companies and attitudes towards green, ethical and socially responsible financial services products and providers. The report also considers consumer attitudes towards the social responsibilities of financial services firms and the green, ethical and socially responsible nature of new entrants.

There are some elements missing from this report, such as conducting socially responsible finance with OTC trading. We will cover these other topics in more detail in the future. You can research about Ameritrade if you want to know more ..

By this report today: call: 0203 416 4502 | email: iainooson[at]mintel.com

Report contents:

OVERVIEW
What you need to know
Report definition
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
The market
Ethical financial services providers: A question of culture
Investment power
Consumers need convincing
The transformative potential of innovation
Consumers can demand change
The consumer
For financial products, performance is more important than principle
Competition from technology companies
Financial services firms perceived to be some of the least socially responsible
Repaying the social debt
Consumer trust is built on evidence
What we think
ISSUES AND INSIGHTS
Creating a more inclusive economy
The facts
The implications
Payments innovation helps fundraising go digital
The facts
The implications
The social debt of the financial crisis
The facts
The implications
THE MARKET – WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
Ethical financial services providers: A question of culture
Investment power
Consumers need convincing
The transformative potential of innovation
Consumers can demand change
PUTTING FINANCIAL SERVICES IN AN ETHICAL CONTEXT
An ethical economy
An ethical financial sector
Ethical financial services providers
GREEN, ETHICAL AND SOCIALLY RESPONSIBLE ISSUES IN FINANCIAL SERVICES
The role of investing
Divestment
The change potential of pensions
The role of trust
Greater transparency informs decisions
Learning from past mistakes
The role of innovation
Payments innovation: Improving financial inclusion
Competition from new entrants
The power of new money
The role of the consumer
Consumers empowered to make a change
Aligning products with self
THE CONSUMER – WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
For financial products, performance is more important than ethics
Financial services firms perceived to be some of the least socially responsible
Competition from technology companies
Repaying the social debt
Consumer trust is built on evidence
Overall trust levels are high
THE ETHICAL CONSUMER – SOCIALLY RESPONSIBLE ACTIVITIES
Payments innovation can boost charitable donations
Consumer engagement in socially responsible activities is high
Healthier finances make it easier to go green
SOCIALLY RESPONSIBLE COMPANIES
37% unable to identify socially responsible companies
Building societies seen to be more responsible than banks….
….whilst short-term loan companies are at the bottom of the pile
CONSUMER TRUST IN THE BEHAVIOUR OF FINANCIAL SERVICES COMPANIES
Overall trust levels are high
Tax avoidance remains a major concern
The divestment movement
Nationwide significantly more trusted
Trust levels remain high
CONSUMER ATTITUDES TOWARDS GREEN AND ETHICAL FINANCIAL PRODUCTS
For financial products, performance is more important than principle
Socially conscious consumers are more concerned
CONSUMER ATTITUDES TOWARDS TRANSPARENCY
Strategy reports provide little insight for consumers
Lack of clarity regarding corporate culture causes concern
Consumers want more information
THE ROLE OF FINANCIAL SERVICES FIRMS IN SOCIETY
The social debt of the financial crisis
THE SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITIES OF FINANCIAL SERVICES FIRMS
For consumers, financial services firms play larger economic role
Promoting financial responsibility
CHALLENGER COMPANIES AND SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY
Consumer trust is built on evidence
The alternative opportunity
The target customer

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