9 great places to enjoy the delicious benefits of Fairtrade!

At Conscious Consumers, our job is to make it easier for you to make ethical purchasing decisions. It’s not easy out there in the world of infinite choice, slick marketing and confusing labelling standards.

We’ve done the hard yards working out the actually-good from the not-so-good so you can trust anything we’ve certified to be checked and approved as a good option.

“Fairtrade is about better prices, decent working conditions, local sustainability, and fair terms of trade for farmers and workers in the developing world.”

Fairtrade helps ensures farmers and workers get paid a fair minimum rate for their produce and supports communities to organise into cooperatives and improve their positions in the supply chain. Learn more about the impact of Fairtrade in our neighbouring Pacific islands here.

The good news is, supporting Fairtrade is delicious!

Check out these 9 businesses selling delicious Fairtrade goodies!

Chocolate tastes much better when the people who made it are looked after - but don’t take our word for it. Pick up a bar of Trade Aid chocolate from Ripe Deli in Auckland and enjoy the benefits yourself.

If you are looking for something extra special, Scarecrow in Auckland stock the supremely ethical, delicious works of art made by the Wellington Chocolate Factory. We guarantee you won’t be disappointed.

Perhaps you are the type of person that would rather your chocolate in a cup? It’s hard to go past the Trade Aid Drinking Chocolate from Ti Kouka Cafe on Willis Street in Wellington.

Or if tea is more your thing, Neo cafe stocks delicious, Fairtrade blends from Ritual Tea.

Speaking of delicious drinks our long time friends from All Good Organics make delicious drinks, full of Fairtrade goodness, stocked across the country.

Grab a Karma Cola from Charley Noble or a Lemmy Lemonade from Pegasus Bay and say cheers to a better world for everyone involved in bringing that delicious drink to your lips.


We all know coffee is an important cornerstone of our society. Kokako are another long time supporter of Conscious Consumers. They take great pride in their coffee blends, which are also certified Fairtrade. Grab a cup from Little Bird next time you’re in Auckland.

 

Or next time you’re wandering through Ceres Wholefoods in Auckland, and looking for something different, pick up some IncaFe coffee.

If you're down in Christchurch, the good folks at Caffe Prima are roasting their own delicious blends every day. Stop in for a cup or order online for your Fairtrade caffeine fix! 


We’re just scratching the surface here. There are hundreds of businesses in New Zealand stocking ethical products that do good for people and the planet on their way to get to you. For the full list of Conscious Consumer businesses, and to see all their accreditations download the app and support businesses doing good for people and the planet!

 

Have you joined our Good Spend Counter yet? When you register your values and payment cards every single dollar you spend will become a vote for a better world. 

Your values matter! Give them a voice and influence and transform how business gets done.

Celebrate World Fairtrade Day with Conscious Banana Pancakes!

Ready to go bananas for World Fairtrade day this Saturday 13th May? These awesome banana oat pancakes are super easy to make, good for you and will fill you up to keep you going all morning, day or night.

 

You’ll need

  • 2 ripe Fairtrade bananas

  • 2 big free range eggs

  • ½ cup organic rolled oats

  • ½ teaspoon baking powder

  • Salt to taste

  • Organic butter for the frypan (optional)

  • A blender, a non-stick fry pan and some fresh fruits to serve.

 

So easy.

  1. Crack the eggs and peel the bananas into a blender. Add the oats, baking powder and salt.

  2. Blend until the mixture is smooth enough to pour. Allow the batter to stand for 10-20 minutes until thickened slightly.

  3. Heat up a non-stick frying pan over medium heat and add the butter if you want.

  4. Load up the batter in large spoonfuls and fry until golden brown on both sides.

  5. Serve with your favourite fresh fruit or whatever strikes your fancy!

Enjoy. 

With organic oats, free range eggs and Fairtrade bananas you can feel good knowing you've made delicious, conscious choices to make these delicious pancakes! 

5 places to get ethical, winter fashion in New Zealand.

Where do your clothes come from? Who makes them? How are they treated? How does the production impact the environment? Are suppliers paid a fair price?

The world is waking up quickly to the importance of understanding where clothes get made, how workers and suppliers get treated and the impact of production on the environment. More and more people believe turning a blind eye isn’t good enough anymore.

When you sign up to Conscious Consumers, register your values and download the app we make it really easy to find good ethical clothing. If you’re looking for warm winter clothes, here are 5 great places who have been accredited with us for a good business practices.

Shopping here will leave you feeling good on the side inside, supporting good businesses, as well as looking great in new clothes too!

1) Tummah Ethical Trade

Looking for Fairtrade undies?

Tummah are upfront about their mission championing organic, fairtrade clothing and making it more accessible.

They are NZ’s first stockists of world leading ethical underwear Mighty Good Undies, super fashionable shirts and skirts from No Nasties, you’ll even find ethical produced winter sports gear from Jinta. You can be sure that if it’s stocked at Tummah it’s going to be hitting a high standard of integrity and ethics.

2) Sitka

Sitka is an online retailer with a fiercely mission driven business:

Our goal is to inspire an accountability to nature and move towards a balance between conservation and consumerism. The strategy is simple: leave it (the Earth, the industry, and our community) better than we found it.

You’ll find stylish street wear, outdoor gear and accessories designed to help you make the most of the outdoors, without destroying them in the process. Check our their great organic hoodies designed to last you through many winters.

An institution on Wellington’s Cuba Street, Mandatory has carved out a reputation for locally designed, locally produced, world class high end men's fashion. Most of their garments are made in their own workroom with new, unique items designed and shipped every week.

If you’re wanting to invest in quality fashion that will serve you for a lifetime - check them out.

4) Kathmandu

Kathmandu have been helping to lead the way towards responsible mass market retail for a long time. They have joined our insight programme to continue to improve their understanding of what really matters to their consumers and continue their journey of constantly improving their impact on the world.

Check our their line of cruelty free, responsible down jackets. They will warm you all the way through.

 

5) WE-AR

WE-AR have built a business making conscious decisions towards kindness every step of the way. They have a clear 3 fold mission:

FOR PEOPLE
Empowered individuals, thriving families

FOR COMMUNITY
Conscious collaboration, active engagement, reinvestment of profits

FOR PLANET
Mindfully made in harmony, because we care

You’ll find beautiful yoga and activewear alongside stylish urban wear on their website. Their organic cotton hoodies are beautiful.

You can also be assured that every effort has been made to ensure everyone involved in the process has been treated well. They have been accredited by us as a living wage supplier.


Profile: Mandatory, a global leader in local fashion

Written by Tracey Creed. Tracey is a digital marketer, photographer and writer, the digital strategist at Ceres Organics who freelances in her spare time for other sustainable brands doing good things. Follow her work on Instagram here.

Learning more about ethical fashion with a long time leader - Mandatory Menswear. 

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When we think about conscious consumerism, ethical consumption or whatever you want to call it, the fashion industry seems to be the last industry to address the issues we face – globally. Tell us a bit about Mandatory’s beginnings and how you got into ethical fashion.

Mandatory was founded in 1997 by designers Clare Bowden and Fiona Edwards who switched from their respective established women’s wholesale labels in response to noticeable demand for choice (and fit) in good menswear in Wellington.

Mandatory operates as an independent men’s outfitter on Cuba Street with a manufacturing studio space a block away. Garments are produced in small runs, in season, in Wellington, and customers are offered custom made garments for the same price as off the rack using end customisation and in-time production methods. 

Mandatory has steered away from wholesale, preferring to keep the physical and financial costs of production to a level that delivers directly to the market. This approach allows for meaningful, highly appreciated work for employees (all creative) and a quality product that customers continually return for. 

The ability to supply actual demand is the way waste is reduced and costs are managed - this has seen us last the distance. Garments designed, fitted, made well and sold for purpose are worn often and last longer while looking better than their mass-produced, cheap counterparts.

 

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A $10 tee shirt has a cost that a disconnected consumer is not going to realise. The Rana Plaza tragedy in 2013 illustrated this powerfully. Do you think kiwis are really aware of the ethical and environmental impacts of the fashion industry?

I think Kiwis are more aware in recent times. In the last few years we’ve observed an increase in questions about where our garments are made and what they are made of, it’s encouraging to see. It is a point of pride for us to be able to point out the things that we make here in Wellington and to be able to name the people who hand made them. We’re also seeing a positive shift in what people consider ‘value’.  

Social media plays an incredible roll spreading awareness about some of the ethical and environmental issues within the industry; we’re seeing a much more informed consumer. 

Many of our clients are from SME’s, quite a few are in trades related industry in some form and most others would have relatives and associates working in similar small business and producer fields, thanks to New Zealand’s size and history. Our clients relate quickly to the process we follow and the reasons for it. We don’t want to waste time and resources to create stuff that no one really wants until it is just temptingly cheap. Knowledge is power. 

At a certain point time poor people realise they want quality and an efficient result, good products and assistance. Not to be alone figuring it out when it is not their area of expertise is worth the spend. 

Ethical fashion covers a range of issues, child labour, fair trade, and sustainable production to name a few. How do you decide what you will and will not stock in your store?

We have set ourselves up to be a reliable store to sort wardrobe plans, dreams and necessities. We look to carry well designed products that will sell, fit the requirement and satisfying our will to work - they need to be creative and interesting products that people will care for and enjoy owning. Good purchasing, consultation and selling, with ethical and sustainable production must go hand in hand with good design to create pieces that endure.

There is an expectation for quality and uniqueness with the brand and we feel it’s important that the accessories we stock reflect that. The lower transport costs of these products that are not dependent on fit make them great to source from small ethical producers. 

What are some of the obstacles you face to source and stock more sustainable products?

Affordability. As a brick and mortar store, the wholesale price of a sustainable product still has to be viable for people to buy it. Sometimes the margins on these types of products aren’t realistic for a small store like ours where we’re paying steeper overheads. 

Another obstacle that faces smaller stores like us in stocking sustainable products is the producers’ or distributors of those products choosing to retail against us online. This can dictate already conservative margins and incentivise customers to research in store where we are paying to carry inventory but who know they can buy the same product online from a supplier. 

If makers of sustainable products don’t work together with retailers in a supportive way that mutually benefits it can be hard for us to be an ongoing stockiest of those products

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Leather is a by-product of the meat industry, one of the major causes of climate change and cause of land degradation, air and water pollution. Tanneries are also listed as top polluters. You do sell some vegan ‘leather’ goods. Do you think the options are increasing for leather alternatives, as the market is demanding more environmentally and socially responsible goods?

We are proud stockists of Matt&Nat who make manly vegan bags and luggage with linings made from recycled plastic bottles. The bags are good looking and people are drawn to them. Several designs look and handle like leather which has a lot of appeal to our customers. 

We began to stock them because we noticed an increase in consumers looking for leather alternatives. If the sustainable, responsible alternatives are stylish and attractive and comparable in price then customers are likely to choose these over classic leather. It’s our hope that as consumer demands for ethical alternatives continue to increase, designers will respond with attractive and socially responsible goods to meet those needs. 

Undoubtedly we should be making less leather products, taking better care of the hides, designing well, reducing, reusing, repurposing, recycling. The leather products of 20 years ago were well made, fetching high prices and still hold their value in vintage stores.  

Leather has no place in cheap bulk shops as to develop it properly and safely is expensive. The mass production leather garments, bags and shoes in cheap stores each season are land fill following their pollution, exploited labour, and seasonal price dumping, (which kills off the independent stores). 

Fast fashion cycles have a major impact that many of us are not aware of. Latest figures show that 100 million kilos of textile waste end up in New Zealand landfills annually. What do you think needs to change for there to be a larger scale conscious shift?

The second hand stores are awash with valueless crap – we all see it. As a menswear label we find that most guys DO in fact keep their clothes, some a lot longer than they possibly should! If clothes are made well they last longer and customers have come to expect that from our garments. Viewing garments as an investment and not a commodity is important.

I think people need to seek out and embrace more help to buy clothes successfully. There is quite a lot of on the spot pressure in shops and online. It is incredibly easy to waste money on clothes and buy things that are not quite right.  

Garments should be better made with better base materials, costing a bit more to get people to slow down and think through what they really need. Higher relative prices in the past did factor in qualified assistance in shops and tailoring services to support a successful outcome, which is more wear. We must stop the wastage and this does not need to be at the expense of style and creative dressing. 

This new level of demand creates a wealth of both environmental and human rights issues, do these sorts of conversations end up taking place on your shop floor?

Absolutely. People are very interested in our approach and the team’s take on working in an industry with such a bad reputation. We are passionate about fashion and fabrics, as many before us. We are respected for our skills and fairly paid. It’s often through communicating with our customers in store about what we do and why we choose to do it that they are reminded that there is another way to shop. A way that is better; more considered, more supportive to local makers, more economical in terms of cost per wear and one where they also get a really positive, helpful shopping experience and a great result in their garment. Conversations on the shop floor about real clothes and the real people making them is a refreshing change for a consumer who is fatigued by the thought of attempting to find something ‘good’ while scrolling through the plethora of cheap clothing and bargain sites. 

At Conscious Consumers we believe that when shoppers are empowered with information they can take action with values based purchasing decisions. How many of your customers are shopping with you as a vote against fast fashion?  

Probably a considerable number, certainly our shop aligns with their wish to do so – we are a satisfying tick on their personal path to being conscious consumers! We are a small system in a sea of pre-produced season in, season out widget flogging. Not all guys have actively sought local make – but our skill set is what many need.  

We offer efficiency: curated collections, our small store is skillfully merchandised to showcase specific product demand – for work / social/ events and qualified staff can tweak and rejig concepts into reality within a good time frame. The garments are well built /fitted so these garnered garments are set up to be used a lot with less fuss, less shopping.

A considerable range of skills and machines are assembled and drawn on by our small team to create this in line production system, it is not something that is easily duplicated due to the demise of manufacture in NZ (skills training/machine maintenance) and at the 20 year mark the challenges keep coming. Many clients have recognised how special and fragile an operation like this is and have stayed closely involved over many years.

As Vivienne Westwood said, ‘buy less, choose well, make it last’. Good advice. What advice would you have for people wanting to embrace slow fashion? 

We love this quote and its one that we reference in our company often. Our advice to consumer would be to be fussy about the fabrics and the fit of your garments. Invest in things you love that you will wear often. Support the craftsmen and artisan makers who have skills and passion for making things- its those things that translate into the garments and increase your enjoyment for wearing them. 

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Mandatory is an accredited Conscious Consumer business. Look them up on our app to learn more about their business, or drop into their store in the middle of Wellington's trendy Cuba Street. 

When you join Conscious Consumers Good Spend Counter, every dollar you spend can be a vote for a better world. Sign up today! 

6 questions with film maker David White

We're connecting with Conscious Consumers from across New Zealand to ask 6 questions and learn more about how they think we can all change the world for the better. Register your values and payment cards and help us grow the Conscious Consumers movement here! 

Who are you, where are you from and what do you do?

 

Who are you, where are you from and what do you do?

I am a film maker, BBQ sauce creator and wooden bowl turner. I have recently made a film called MEAT that is coming to cinemas on May 4th 2017 - find out more at www.meat.film.

What does conscious consumerism mean to you?

For me, conscious consumerism means constantly researching and doing your best to confirm that your moral basis for decision making is correct. Then once you know the answer, you consume by those morals.

What are the most important social and environmental problems you think businesses can help to solve?

Waste. I think we have a huge amount of waste, from food to plastic and packaging. I wish they would ask if everyone if they needed a bag for their shopping. Or encouraged people properly to use keep cups. Kokako in Auckland offers a fifty cent discount to people who use their keep cup. That is real incentive and shows they care enough for it to affect their $ bottom line.

What do you think consumers can do to have a bigger influence in our world?

Don't buy things that you are morally against. If you see something that is produced or packaged or marketed in a way that does not align with your values, it's simple. Don't buy it. You probably don't NEED it anyway.

The last time you made a ‘conscious’ purchase decision - what did you buy and where did you buy it from?

You make a conscious decision every time you make a purchase, so for me it's not just about being conscientious when making one large purchase but trying to think about everything I buy. For example, just in the last week I bought new glasses from a local optometrist as opposed to buying from overseas, and I ate at La Boca Loca and Boquita, both of which are restaurants that pay a living wage and use 100% compostable packaging. We also had a party at my house and we got fish from Yellow Brick Road (a line caught fishing company). Obviously all of these things are slightly more expensive, however in my mind that is the cost of business when it's done the way I feel it should be done.

What consumer-oriented technological change are you most excited about seeing in the future?

I think when we talk about getting to 100% renewable energy, the overall consensus is that technological change is the answer. Mostly people talk about renewable energy sources like solar and wind, but I feel like in the mainstream we should be talking more about things like temperature management. If you look at the dairy industry they're starting to use cooler climates to reduce energy consumption, and in slightly more technological areas, companies like Weta Digital are using dairy farming technology to cool their computers so they can render larger shots, scenes and movies more efficiently. As society gets more and more energy intensive, I'm looking forward to seeing innovations in how people manage energy use, as well as how it's sourced.

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When you join Conscious Consumers we make sure every dollar you spend helps businesses understand what you care about. It's free, secure and only takes 2 minutes. Register your values and payment cards and help us grow the Conscious Consumers movement here! 

Tummah Ethical Trade: Making Ethical Fashion Accessible & Affordable in New Zealand

Caleb and Anna are passionate about making ethical fashion accessible and affordable to all New Zealanders.

Caleb and Anna are passionate about making ethical fashion accessible and affordable to all New Zealanders.

Written by Lucinda Staniland. Lucinda is a freelance writer and the editor of The Yoga Lunchbox.

Ethical fashion is a conversation that New Zealanders are only just beginning to have. Many of us have become accustomed to searching out, and often paying more for, free-range, local, fairtrade and organic food, and we are well educated on the destructive consequences of industrial agriculture and food production.

And yet, most of us don’t give much thought to where our clothes came from, or, if we do, we give up when we find out that it’s difficult and expensive to find ethical alternatives.

Enter Tummah Ethical Trade, the brainchild of husband and wife team Caleb and Anna.

Tummah Ethical Trade is the first Conscious Consumers accredited business to offer a full range of certified organic and fair trade clothing—with a grand total of 47 products, including underwear, t-shirts and stylish clothing for both men and women. They are also the first 100% online business to be accredited with Conscious Consumers.

The pair became interested in ethical fashion as an extension of their interest in organic food: “We were trying to purchase ethical varieties of foods, and then came the time when we needed replacements for clothes that were wearing out! We searched for ethical clothing in NZ, but there weren’t many options.”

Caleb and Anna knew that they couldn’t be the only people in this situation—at the time, for example, there was no Fairtrade underwear available in NZ—and so Tummah Ethical Trade was born out of a desire to make ethical fashion accessible and affordable to all New Zealanders.

New Zealand’s fashion scene is controlled, as in most western countries, by ‘Fast Fashion’. Like fast food, fast fashion businesses produce large amounts of incredibly cheap, readily available clothing that most of us take for granted—but at what cost?

Anna says, “People often talk about clothing as disposable when in reality the resources used, and the people making the products, should be given more respect. The price of clothing has been getting cheaper, but how can this be when the same process still has to happen? Clothing should be an investment.”

So why has it taken conscious consumers like us so long to start investing in Ethical Fashion? Why do we buy fair trade coffee, but not fair trade underwear?

Caleb and Anna say it comes down to two things: Accessibility and affordability. The ethical clothing available in NZ, while it is increasing, is “only a speck in the ocean”. It is typically only available online and in high-end boutiques, and often only in ‘designer’ styles, not everyday or casual clothing.

So while New Zealand consumers are becoming increasingly aware of the ethical and environmental consequences of fast fashion—something that was clearly illustrated earlier this month in the social media storm between Farmers and ethical clothing fans—trustworthy suppliers of affordable organic and fairtrade clothing are not there to meet the demand. For the average kiwi, ethical clothing is hard to find and hard to afford.

Caleb and Anna are committed to changing this state of affairs.

To ensure the integrity of their products they carefully screen their stockists and investigate ethical practices. Two of Tummah’s brands—Etiko and Mighty Good Undies— were among the three brands to receive an A+ grade in Tear Fund’s recently released Ethical Fashion Guide.

These are products that you can trust and they are affordably priced, making them accessible to your average New Zealander. Caleb and Anna say, “Our motivation is simple, we aren’t in this to make big money, but instead to be part of a change within the New Zealand fashion market. We believe having lower prices will encourage more people to join this movement with us.”

Throughout the process of connecting with Caleb and Anna, I found myself deeply impressed by Tummah Ethical Trade, and by the very genuine values that lie behind it.

The essence of these values is clearly illustrated by the story behind how the name ‘Tummah’ was chosen. Caleb and Anna say, “We reached the conclusion that the value we most want to operate with is integrity. Business anchored by integrity was the motivation behind the name ‘Tummah’, the Biblical Hebrew word for integrity. Being honest, truthful, upright and fair in the way we conduct our business and in the products we stock, that’s what we are all about!”

Tummah Ethical Trade is conscious business at it’s best—operated with integrity and motivated by making positive change.

“We wanted to be proactive in helping the movement grow, and the business grew from there. Once you’ve got an idea like that on your mind, you can’t stop thinking about it! So we committed and went with it.”

Conscious Consumers are stoked to be supporting businesses like Tummah Ethical Trade.

At the very beginning, Conscious Consumers was an accreditation system for hospitality businesses, but in recent years it has expanded rapidly to include fuel, transport, energy, groceries and—finally!—organic and fairtrade fashion.

Caleb and Anna, when speaking of their own journey, say “Once you start to be conscious in one area, you must consider all areas.” As New Zealand consumers begin to wake up to the brutal reality of the fashion industry, businesses like Tummah Ethical Trade play a crucial role in providing much-needed alternatives.

How can you support businesses like this? It's easy! 

Sign up to the Good Spend Counter. It’s quick, easy and secure, and it allows you to make your values visible to businesses across New Zealand, influencing them to be more like Tummah Ethical Trade.

 

6 Questions with Christina Bellis, CEO of Thankyou Payroll and conscious consumer!

We're connecting with Conscious Consumers from across New Zealand to ask 6 questions and find out who they and learn more about how they think we can all change the world for the better. Register your values and payment cards and help us grow the Conscious Consumers movement here! 

 

1. Who are you, where are you from and what do you do?

I'm Christina Bellis. I originally hail from Canadian lands, have been in Aotearoa over 10 years working towards positive change in the social, environmental, and enterprise worlds. I'm currently the CEO of Thankyou Payroll, a social enterprise with offices in Dunedin and Wellington, offering free payroll intermediary services to charities and SMEs around the country, and giving a proportion of revenue back to the community via Thankyou Charitable Trust.

2. What does conscious consumerism mean to you?

To me, conscious consumerism means having a consideration for the things one acquires, and making sure they match ones values as much as possible - or at least that they don't directly oppose them. We can't always know the exact conditions of where or how something is made, but with information so accessible these days, it's not hard to find out a baseline amount.

Conscious consumerism is drawing conclusions from knowledge that directly influence ones purchasing power. For example, palm oil is associated with the destruction of rainforests which in turn is threatening the survival of orangutans. Conclusion? Avoid products with palm oil. However, palm oil isn't always labeled as an ingredient, which is where conscious consumerism becomes difficult.

3. What are the most important social and environmental problems you think businesses can help to solve?

Businesses interact with most parts of society and can therefore have positive impacts on a number of things. I think the most important thing is to set your business up with social and environmental responsibilities threaded through it. For example, having supportive and holistic health policies, like mental health and family violence leave for employees, offer better outcomes for people, and also open the space to talk about it, which is really important.

In respect for the environment, having low impact procurement policies, and looking at how to mitigate or reduce emissions, and offset where you can't. It's not the biggest emitter, but a pet peeve of mine is seeing the lights illuminated on every floor of CBD office buildings when there's no one in them.

4. What do you think consumers can do to have a bigger influence in our world?

I think consumers need to consume less - which can sometimes be pretty hard with engrained lifestyle habits and marketing thrown at us telling us to buy! buy! buy! Purchasing things second hand is great, and if you can't find it, have patience until you do. It's like, if you can't find cookies that don't have palm oil in the ingredients, then don't buy any cookies! Don't settle for the lesser of the evils, just go without. Or better yet, make your own cookies!

5. The last time you made a ‘conscious’ purchase decision - what did you buy and where did you buy it from?

I think I make conscious purchasing decisions all the time, but a big one recently was for home renovations. Half our house has laminate flooring and the other half was carpet. I recently ripped up the carpet and discovered original Matai flooring which was exciting. I also found a large area where a number of floorboards had been replaced with chip board. The easiest thing to do would be to put new flooring on top - and laminate was the cheapest. But I knew there was an environmental cost that wasn't being included in that cheap price. The next step up was a bamboo flooring - double the price, but much more sustainable. So I bought boxes of that, dragged them all home, looked at the floor and decided to go the hardest route instead which was to rip up the chip board and replace the floor boards. So I returned the bamboo flooring, and headed to the No. 8 Building Recyclers in Lyall Bay where they've got a ton of Matai floorboards taken out of old houses (among millions of other household joinery and plumbing bits, etc). It was a conscious and the best decision, not only as it restored the charm of the old house, but because it was reusing an existing product that came from within the region (at least in its last house!) and didn't come with any packaging. I also recognise that many things that uphold certain environmental ethics tend to be more expensive and in order to 'put my money where my mouth is' I need to make some sacrifices. Buying the recycled floor boards meant our next 'holiday' was a working staycation to rip up chip board and figure out how to lay flooring!

6. What consumer-oriented technological change are you most excited about seeing in the future?

Hugh (TYP's founder) has mentioned dog translators which would be pretty cool considering most of us have dogs at Thankyou Payroll!! But that breakthrough aside, I'm pretty excited about the consumer-oriented changes we're making to Thankyou Payroll's latest software. Things like an employee kiosk which gives more freedom to employers, and more accessibility for employees will be great. And native mobile so the platform has a greater functionality and performance on our mobile devices. These tech changes are making our dev's pretty excited to be building, and I'm pretty excited to soon offer them to our clients!

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Thankyou Payroll is a New Zealand based software business that is growing fast. They are currently open to new shareholders via PledgeMe equity crowdfunding. If you're interested to learn more - check it out! 

 

Register your values and payment cards and help us grow the Conscious Consumers movement here! 

Southern Cross Garden Bar Restaurant Make The Change to Free Farmed Pork

Written by Lucinda Staniland. Lucinda is a freelance writer and the editor of The Yoga Lunchbox.

Southern Cross Garden Bar Restaurant is a true stalwart of the Wellington dining and social scene. Over the years, I’ve enjoyed countless coffees at its cosy tables, attended community gatherings and birthday parties in their function rooms, celebrated special events with drinks in the courtyard, and danced the night away to local bands.

But there’s much more to the Cross than good coffee, tasty food and a reliably awesome atmosphere. Behind the scenes, Southern Cross is actually an undercover Conscious Consumers superstar.

Yup, that’s right, over the years Southern Cross has been awarded a truly impressive number of the Conscious Consumers operational and product badges—BYO, Composting, Eco-packaging, Recycling, Supporting communities, Organic, NZ made, Carbon Neutral, Free Range, Vegetarian/Vegan and Fair Trade—the Cross is seriously onto it when it comes to their operational and product standards.

Southern Cross have an impressive assortment of Conscious Consumers operational and product badges.

Southern Cross have an impressive assortment of Conscious Consumers operational and product badges.

Attaining and maintaining such high standards takes work, what’s the motivation behind it all?

Tim Clarke, Strategy & Development Coordinator at Southern Cross says that it all comes down to the values that drive the business—when you’re values-driven, constantly upping your standards is an obvious and straightforward decision to make.

“We’re quite proud of our accreditation,” says Tim, “It does take time to accumulate all the necessary information to apply for each badge, but our feeling during the reaccreditation process was simple: if it’s achievable, we should try and become accredited for it, which is what we did.”

And they’re not stopping there. Southern Cross has just made another move towards better business by switching to Free Farmed pork.

Tim says, “Animal rights have always been something that the owners have felt strongly about, and after some research last year it became clear that we could be using a supplier that better aligns with our values when it came to pork.”

This process began when Southern Cross went through a re-accreditation process with Conscious Consumers and were surprised to discover that their free-range pork supplier, who was Pig Care accredited, couldn’t be approved by Conscious Consumers for the Free-Range badge. This kick-started a deep-dive into the intricacies of the pork industry.

What they discovered was that, “There is no legal definition of what constitutes “Free-Range” in the pork industry. There are only guidelines & best practices available to farmers & suppliers to follow.”

With assistance from Conscious Consumers, Southern Cross further investigated the difference between free-range and free farmed pork and searched for an independently audited supplier that they could trust.

They felt that Freedom Farms was the best option because, “As best as we could tell Freedom Farm's ‘Five Freedoms’ are well monitored and most importantly, independently audited by AsureQuality,” says Tim, “so we’re not just taking the farmer or suppliers word for it, it’s actually been independently verified to a high standard.”

Making changes like this entails effort and compromise.

The team at Southern Cross put a lot of time into untangling the complexities of the pork industry, looking for a trustworthy supplier, and training staff to be able to communicate the change to customers. Southern Cross also had to change the cut of bacon they had been using, not a big deal, says Tim, but it still involved a shift from the norm.

There were some unexpected bonuses though: “Surprisingly, the cost of the Freedom Farms pork was actually less than our previous supplier,” says Tim, “that’s always a bonus when making changes, especially when they’re the moral choices, they tend to go in the other direction and be more expensive.”

Southern Cross are a great example of a thriving, values-driven business—exactly the kind of business that the Good Spend Counter encourages and supports.

They do what they do well—make great coffee, run gigs, serve yummy food—and they are constantly striving to do it in a way that respects people, animals, and the planet.

When you register your values and your payment cards with Conscious Consumers’ Good Spend Counter, you let businesses like Southern Cross know that you support their good work and the effort that it takes to make positive change.

Have you joined Conscious Consumers yet? It’s free, completely secure, and takes less than two minutes. What are you waiting for?