The sustainable shopping cart, the ABCs

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Following the Global Climate Strike, the first of the Saturdays for Future is being called in Italy today. The shopping cart revolution is really about saving the planet. Leave unsustainable products on the shelf, buy the good and fair ones. ABC to follow.

Global Climate Strike, the cheerfulness that everyone likes

Millions of young people cheerfully demonstrated again yesterday, as in previous Fridays for Future. Expressing genuine and naive sentiment, almost always lacking in knowledge about the main causes of the current crisis-not only ecological, but also social-and how to help mitigate it. Thus, in the always useful reminder of at least one of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in UN Agenda 2030-no concrete commitment is required, either from politics or the private sector.

The joyous youth demonstration thus gathers support from the masters of the Western world, who project it ‘in unified networks’ on the media they control. Not surprisingly perhaps, Bank of America, Coca Cola and Open Society (George Soros) register as sponsors. And foil blows are being thrown at Moscow and Beijing, under the guise that no proselytes of Greta were seen in Hong Kong and Red Square. Therefore, Fridays for Future is under control and will come in handy to support anything that will come in handy for the usual people. Perhaps even to justify new pressure on Iran and Venezuela as oil producers.

Saturdays for Future, the initiative of ASviS and NeXt

The genius idea for Saturdays for Future comes from ASviS (Italian Alliance for Sustainable Development) spokesman Enrico Giovannini. At a recent conference, 5.6.19, devoted to the impact of awareness-about socio-environmental problems-on consumption choices. As an outcome of the positive experience of the CashMob organized on 17-18.5.19 by ASviS and NeXt – (New Economy for All), in collaboration with Coop Italia.

Consciously and responsiblyconsuming means, first and foremost, avoiding waste, minimizing waste, recycling and responsibly choosing the products you buy, looking at the sustainability of our development model.’ (Enrico Giovannini, ASviS, 5.6.19).

The initiative is being repeated in a series of Coop stores, set up on Saturday with booths and informational materials on how to contribute to the Common Good through responsible consumption choices. The first experiment, conducted in May 2019, had surprising results in terms of increased purchases of products that are ‘good’ for the environment and society (+18%). It is therefore useful and valuable to organize these events throughout the year. Not only in a large-scale retail group-not even the first by the way, after the overtaking of CONAD-but in the entire large-scale retail channel.

Sustainable food consumption, the ABCs

What Values should we reason about when shopping, so that our choices also benefit our neighbors and our children, in addition to personal gratification? Some insights to follow:

– attention to ecosystems. The best guarantee is found inorganic farming, there is no question. Other initiatives, such as Coop Italia’selimination of glyphosate and other agrotoxics from its fruit and vegetables, however, deserve great appreciation,

– respect for workers, all those who participate in supply chains wherever originated no one excluded. The cooperative group has been ensuring this for more than 20 years through SA 8000 certification, others through individual projects that should always be taken into account,

– Fair and sustainable supply chains. So-called fair trade is still the exception, whereas it should become the rule, sealed by binding international standards. In far-flung supply chains, where the exploitation of human beings and communities is systematic, as in those closer to home, still plagued by caporalato and ecomafias,

– health and well-being. Obesity and diseases related to junk food consumption are as out of control as Big Food’s scripted marketing policies. Obesity, alongside malnutrition and climate change, is cited as one of the three drivers of the Global Syndemic. Ultraprocessed foods are sure to cause this, but they continue to be offered and purchased everywhere. Also at the forecourts of most supermarkets,

– animal welfare. Whatever the ultimate fate of ‘farm’ animals, their welfare is essential. Once again the biological system outperforms everyone. Without neglecting other elements, such as eliminating cages and sexing and reducing the use of antibiotics,

– circular economy, which is based on the so-called waste hierarchy. Where the first must is Reduce. Reduce consumption of disposable items and packaging for example, even before thinking about their possible recyclability. Keeping in mind that reuse should always be preferred, one should set out to use more detergents and bulk cleaners, for example, in addition to using water bottles. More reusable bags and fewer bags, albeit in ‘bioplastics’.

#Buycott! Disrupting demand for GMO soybeans, palm oil and U.S. meats

Cutting demand for palm oil-in the food industry as well as in cosmetics and detergents, as well as from biodiesel-can actually disincentivize the land grabs and deforestation still taking place. It is no coincidence that the Indonesian and Malaysian diplomacies have reacted in aggressive tones to the palm tree opposition movement that this very writer initiated in Italy in 2013.

Rejecting GMO soy in the feed of the animals from which our excellent dairy, meat and cured meats are derived is equally essential. Demanding full traceability of supply chains, from feed to fork, will make it possible to end the Italian paradox on GMO soy.

Excluding U.S. meat from our distribution chains means first of all ensuringmandatory information on the origin of meat in restaurants and eateries, fast-food and take-away restaurants, canteens and caterers. This is the only way we will be able to get rid of the meat from cattle fed on animal meal-as well as doped with synthetic hormones and banned drugs, as well as loaded with pesticides-that Minister Teresa Bellanova wants to let into Italy with the ratification of CETA.

#Buycott! Support short, fair and organic supply chains. Or at least, sustainable

The #Buycott campaign is devoted to promoting the consumption of healthier vegetable fats than palm oil, such as extra virgin olive oil and high oleic sunflower, all the better if they are organic. Or at least made in sustainable and ethical supply chains (which is not the case in the tropics, despite the false promises of the palmocrats).

Restoring breath to our agriculture-and to the planet-is possible. Also with sunflower, olive and soybean, as well as the tens of thousands of plants that dot the biodiversity. Provided that strict agronomic protocols are applied, aimed at excluding altogether-as in the organic system-or at least minimizing, and digitally tracking, the use of agrotoxics. Drastically ruling out the use of new GMOs, which instead even Coldiretti President Ettore Prandini has called for deregulation, following former minister Paolo De Castro.

Short supply chain must be fostered, to root Values and ethics in agricultural and production districts in every area of the peninsula. And the #Buycott, in its evolutionary aspiration, aspires to just that. Feed domestic demand with products and services that are derived from sustainable and traced supply chains (following the Wiise Chain logic). It also promotespeasant agriculture as a formidable tool for social innovation.

Global Climate Strike, homework

There are 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that the United Nations General Assembly included in Agenda 2030 back in 2015. But the parents of the millions of kids who joyfully demonstrated yesterday barely know of its existence, and only after guided-question interview can they intuit a handful of the Sustainable Development Goals. It is therefore useful to begin to get a sense of what the planet and those who live on it need to live better. In the food chain and in daily life, not forgetting politics.

The real problem with Common Good-inspired initiatives, in Italy as elsewhere, remains the inability to aggregate the ideas that are consistent with them and support them cohesively. The #Buycott campaign! Palm oil and GMO soy (in addition to American meats), launched on 4.8.19 by Égalité and GIFT (Great Italian Food Trade) is simple example. Palm and GMO soybeans have been the leading causes of planet-wide land grabbing and deforestation for more than a decade. The climate impact of these monocultures is serious, which is also confirmed by the latest report of IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change).

However, the so-called civil society-represented primarily by large associations, environmentalists and consumer groups-is still keeping away from the #Buycott initiative, as it did with the first petition against palm oil in food. In a paradoxically competitive climate precisely in the Third Sector, where each entity tends to support only those initiatives of which it is itself the promoter and sovereign, ignoring those others that also tend to bring about transformations consistent with its stated goals. (2) With that same egotistical and narcissistic attitude that has disintegrated, among other things, the left in Italy. So it is not surprising that even within the sphere of cooperation — within the large-scale retail trade (GDO) — the Saturdays for Future initiative has not been shared with other groups. As we hope will happen soon, in Conad but also in all retail chains.

#Égalité!

Dario Dongo

Notes

(1) A recent study in Nature – in which Italian economist Mariana Mazzucato also participated – offered a valuable summary of the SDGs

(2) Governance in the Third Sector, which still awaits reform in Italy, is another unresolved issue. In fact, associations are exempt from the requirement to disclose their sponsors. It is therefore legitimate to express puzzlement, for example, about Slow Food’s failure to join our appeals against palm oil. In the face of the still undenied rumor of the financial rescue of the Slow Food University in Pollenzo by Ferrero (as well as Barilla and Casillo) it is clear how United Nations,/