Ask for better labelling of food and products at your local supermarket. Get a few friends, or your whole church/community, together and approach your local suppliers. Ask them to help you make better, ethical and sustainable consumer choices by providing as much info as they can about the products on their shelves.
To debate: Whilst products carrying the official marks of reputable organisations like Fairtrade and the Rainforest Alliance go a long way to help consumers make ethical choices, the inability of producers from developing countries to meet high certification fees, often exclude them from the ‘ethical market’ in the developed world. One solution might be smaller is better: Rather buy your food directly from small-scale farmers – skipping a few of the middle men – and give yourself the advantage of knowing exactly where your food comes from. In the case of a product like coffee beans, seek out small companies with a passion for building a mutually beneficial relationship between producer and distributor… And finally, consumer. This is also known as direct trade. (For example, Bean There Coffee Company in South Africa and Ethical Addictions in the UK.)
A great book to pick up is Unfair Trade by Conor Woodman – informative and very entertaining… He is quite the fearless adventurer.
Here is an interesting article by The Guardian (UK): Food labelling confuses ethical shoppers, says survey.
In a report by the Overseas Development Institute (ODI), entitled A review of ethical standards and labels: Is there a gap in the market for a new ‘Good for Development’ label?, the issue is further unpacked. Download the full report in PDF format here.