Before you enter Christmas shopping mode this year, you might want to know which are genuinely the best retailers from an environmental, social and customer perspective, before you hit the buy now button.
Thankfully, there is an answer: a Google browser add-on called ShoppingPal. It will revolutionise your yuletide shopping, giving you the power to make gift-buying greener, as well as more rewarding for you.
We’ve teamed up with ShoppingPal to help get your spending as well as your saving on the green track.
Just use referral code GOODMONEYGIRL when you sign up and get five free cash prize draw tickets.
The brains behind ShoppingPal have used data from CSR Hub, a company that rates companies around the world on their social and environmental impact, to make company information – usually hard to find – clearly and easily available to greenwash-wary, online shoppers.
Read on for more on how it works..
Save yourself some first world guilt today: use referral code GOODMONEYGIRL to sign up to download the ShoppingPal add-on for your browser (it works best with Chrome).
Pop-up green ratings info in your Google search
Once you are in, watch as you input shopping terms into google and wait for the little leaf to load next to the name of the online store…. hover over the leaf to find out how that retailer scores on the most important metrics – not price, but environmental.
There should also be a little dot next to the leaf (it looks like these ones on the left). Hover over this to find out if you can access any discounts through visiting the site via ShoppingPal.
ShoppingPal is also soon to launch a search for retailers by category, so when you have a favourite, ShoppingPal will send you an email once a day with any new offers from all your favourite retailers.
Discounts AND prizes
As well as discounts with some retailers, users of ShoppingPal are also entered into a prize draw for free every month. The more users, the bigger the prizes, so there’s an incentive to sign up and then get referring your friends and family.
The Good With Money verdict?
It’s early days for the site, and it would benefit from more information on more retailers, as there are some big names missing (for this Good Money Girl, the absence of ratings for Not On The High Street is a transgression, but whoopee! Boden and John Lewis are included).
It would also be good to have access to a ratings comparison for similar retailers, so you can see at a glance whether Zara is better than H&M, is better than Mango, and so forth.
Want to save or invest with the best for people and planet? Course you do. Take a look at our Good Egg mark companies
Also, some of the ratings don’t quite ring true. When we checked out the ratings for some UK banks (yes, even some banks are signed up to it), HSBC is rated 3.3 out of 5, with the best leaf rating possible for the environment but the rest an amber colour, which means “getting there”.
Barclays scores 3.2 out of 5 – slightly lower than HSBC, but unlike the amber of some of HSBC’s ratings, all of Barclays’ leaves are green. However, both banks have investments in planet-destroying fossil fuels, despite making some big recent improvements to their environmental efforts, so we’re not sure how green they really are (fyi you can check out Banktrack for more on where the big banks invest).
Despite these anomalies and a few usability limitations, ShoppingPal is on the right mission to make this kind of information a) transparent b) accessible c) integrated seamlessly into everyday online shopping decisions.
Like Good With Money, the founders of ShoppingPal want to move to a world where purchasing decisions are made based on more than just price.
By trying to make this functionality widely used, ShoppingPal should, in theory, help to make products and services from those companies with the best scores, the cheapest, too.
Why not give it a go, and see if it makes a positive difference to the impact of your Christmas this year? That link again: www.shoppingpal.co.uk. And the code that matters: GOODMONEYGIRL (ps. If you use this link, we get entered into the prize draw too, and will direct any cash prizes raised back into running the site).