Brand aware was created as a response to how difficult it is to find information about a company's environmental practices, labour policies and animal rights policies. Consumers can only make educated decisions about how they spend their hard earned money if they are informed. BrandAware aims to make it as easy as possible to be an informed consumer.

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FREE Shipping Day!

Posted by Krystle On 12/17/2009 0 comments

I'm currently visiting my parents for the holidays and they the middle of no where.  If you drive north until you have no idea where you are anywhere, you've probably found my hometown.  And it's not that it isn't a great place to be, but there isn't a huge selection of ethical goods stores.  This is why I am extra happy to point out Free Shipping Day.

Buying locally is great whenever you can, but if the only local store in your area is Zellers/Walmart, then buying online becomes a more feasible option.  Here are some of the ethical companies offering free shipping for today (and some for the extended holiday season:

Note: Not companies all will ship for free to Canada (sorry guys), and if you need a coupon code check here.

LUSH - Handmade eco-friendly body products
Simple Shoes - green and ethical footwear (some are vegan friendly)
LoveEarthAlways - green home products
Soy Coffee - organic, gluten-free, caffine-free coffee
PaperCulture - eco-friendly invitation/Christmas cards
Shaklee - has some green health products
Rain of Light - Handmade jewellery supporting people in Kenya
Outreach Uganda - Beaded jewellery supporting people in Uganda

In order to post this in a timely fashion, I haven't completely researched all of these companies (with the exception of LUSH, which is a pretty awesome company). Please feel free to check them out more thoroughly and comment back your findings. 

For everyone who was eagerly awaiting part 2 of the "How to buy shoes" series, this one goes over how you can quickly research a company's ethical history.

Download the Knowmore Firefox extension.

Toxic Toys

Posted by Krystle On 12/09/2009 0 comments

 A U.S. Toy study found all kinds of hazardous toxins in children's toys.  Almost half the toys tested contained PVC, a plastic which can have adverse effects on people, especially small children who might put things in their mouth.

Some of the products listed as being of "high" concern are:
  • High School Musical argyle belt: tested to have high levels of lead, cadmium and arsenic.
  • Disney Princess Sandals: found to have high levels of bromine.
  • Marvel Hot Rodz cars: high levels of lead.
  • Cupcake clip watch: high levels of cadmium.
That's right: lead and arsenic.  Maybe don't pick your niece up that High School Musical belt this Christmas.

CBC: U.S. toy study finds toxic substances

Do you Dialogue?

Posted by Krystle On 12/08/2009 1 comments

I happen to notice this defaced bathroom stall the other day. While I don’t support vandalism, especially the kind one finds on a bathroom stall that only serves to inform me, “for a good time, call Maude”.

However, this particular bathroom stall looked more like a conversation than anything else. While a bathroom door is not an appropriate venue, an open public dialogue is important for a democratic society. (I know, I know, you’ve heard this a million times, but it’s true.) BrandAware looks issues at issues such as sustainability, human rights, labour rights, and animal rights. This is only my personal opinion, but I think that the only way to solve these issues is to tell people. This is how you get other involved in your cause – how you get them to care.

When was the last time you talked to someone in your life about these issues? Since I’m curious, let’s hear about it in the comments: Do you dialogue?

The Story of Stuff

Posted by Krystle On 12/07/2009 0 comments
This is a video clip that’s been around the internet for a little. It’s an oldie (in internet time), but a goodie. The Story of Stuff is only about 20 minutes long, and well worth watching. The clip does an amazing job of breaking down the producer to consumer structures and answering the question, ‘Why do we feel the need to buy so much stuff?’

Check it out, and if you liked that one, Annie Leonard has a new clip out called The Story of Cap and Trade.

The Story of Stuff
The Story of Cap and Trade

It would seem that I spoke too soon last week when I (very reluctantly) gave Walmart credit for turning over a new leaf on the environmental front. Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on how you look at it) Walmart continues to slot themselves into the ‘Evil Corporate Giant' category. 

The United Food and Commercial Workers Union (UFCW) is claiming that Walmart shut down a store in Jonquière, Quebec because of workers attempts to unionize. The store closed the same day the workers rejected a contract during labour negotiations in February 2005.

Under Canadian constitutional law, workers have a right to ‘bargain collectively’ which means unionize, strike, demand fair working conditions, etc. Walmart is claiming that they shut down the store because it was unprofitable for it to remain open, which is why the Supreme Court ruled in favour of Walmart on Friday. Wayne Hanley, the National President of UFCW Canada, said in their press release, “the workers at the Jonquiere store know in their hearts why Walmart shut their store. So do most Canadians. So does Walmart.”

We can only hope that Walmart’s labour relations department will take a page from their sustainability projects and shape the hell up.  To anyone who was feeling confused about having to rethink all of their anti-Walmart values: No worries, unfortunately, it looks like we've got years of anti-Walmart sentiment ahead of us.  It's basically like a back-handed "I-told-you-so" where everybody loses.  Great.

UFCW: "Walmart escapes Supreme Court Decision on a Technicality"
CBC: "Walmart wins at Supreme Court"

How did your Black Friday Go?

Posted by Krystle On 11/28/2009 0 comments
So now that Buy Nothing Day has passed, and now I'm curious about how everyone spent their Friday.  Did you end up buying something?  Did the act of not buying anything make you realize anything about your spending habits?  Did the day pass without you even noticing?

Whatever the case, let me know in the comments. 

(Hit TAB on the comment form if you can't scroll down - apparently this is happening sometimes on Macs.)  Now fixed.

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