More and more of us want to make ethical choices when we shop, but it isn’t always simple – what if a product is fair-trade but wrapped in plastic packaging? How about the carbon footprint of driving around to choose the most planet-friendly options? And how do you find products that are ethical AND healthy?
Now, some exciting apps are enabling shoppers to put their money where their principles are.
Here are five of our favourites:
1. Impact Score
Launched by Giki in 2018, Impact Score is a nifty app that helps you find sustainable and healthy products in the UK supermarket. You just scan the barcode, see which badges the product wins, and check out the alternatives for new ideas.
The app has more than 280,000 supermarket products in its database, both branded goods and own-brand labels from mainstream supermarkets including Waitrose, Co-op, Asda and Sainsbury’s. It awards 15 badges covering sustainability, health and fairness. Pack information, government guidelines and scientific research are added to a database which algorithmically scores product against all the badge options.
Where a product scores poorly, alternatives are suggested.
2. Eco Buddy
We’re used to using apps to track our steps, calories and even sleep, but how about our daily environmental impact?
Eco Buddy enables you to calculate the carbon emissions from the food you choose and your use of transport. You can view your emissions history and also receive daily tips on how to improve your carbon footprint.
3. Good On You
Good On You – which carries the tagline ‘wear the change you want to see’ – helps you to align your clothes purchasing decisions with your ethical principles.
Storing data for more than 2,000 brands, you simply type in the name of a brand, or a type of garment, and instantly see a rating out of five along with a summary of just how ethical the company is.
Brands are ranked in areas including ‘people’ (workers across the supply chain), ‘the planet’ (use of resources and energy, carbon emissions, impact on water and waste disposal), and ‘animals’ (use of fur, angora, shearling, leather and exotic skins).
Information is gathered from brands’ own reported data, certification schemes (including Fair Trade and Global Organic Textile Standard), and investigations by NGOs such as Greenpeace to produce the rankings.
Buycott is a barcode-scanning app that allows socially conscious users to find out what the product maker’s politics and ethical values are. They are then given the option to tweet, call or e-mail the companies and tell them why they’re not buying.
Created by 26-year-old LA developer Ivan Pardo, Buycott provides users with details including a company’s ownership, country of origin and any history of unethical behaviour. It allows you to avoid indirectly giving money to companies you find objectionable. The app now has over a million users.
Too Good to Go aims to tackle the issue of the tonnes of food wasted by cafes and restaurants every year – food waste, it says, is equivalent to 10 per cent of all greenhouse gas emissions.
On the app, you can find food establishments advertising food that would otherwise be thrown away to buy at very cheap prices. So far, over seven million meals have been saved from landfill.