4 mobile apps to help you with ethical shopping (and more)!
Can your smartphone help you make better decisions when it comes to responsible and ecological shopping? Absolutely, as long as you install the right apps. Today I would like to tell you about four interesting technological solutions that all conscious consumers should find useful. Of course, each of these apps has both fine points and flaws, but I think everyone can pick something that suits them. Installing at least one of these apps should be a step in the right direction, which is more environmentally and socially responsible shopping.
Good on You
Over the past few years, we have heard a lot about horrible conditions garment factory workers have to suffer in Asia, especially since the tragic collapse of Rana Plaza factory where the Western retailers sourced their clothes. There are more and more people bothered by the fact that the production of their clothes contributes to the suffering of others. Therefore they would like to buy their things more responsibly but they don’t really know where to look for reliable information. And this is where “The Good on You” app comes in. How does it work? You simply need to enter a company’s name to find out where it has been placed on the five-point scale.
Brands are rated from 1 (we avoid) to 5 (great). Overall ratings derive from an average of the scores for each of the following areas:
- people – or the brand’s impact on the workers across the supply chain (working conditions, safety, wages, child’s labour)
- environment – or how the company uses natural resources, its impact on water, carbon emmisions, energy use, chemicals disposal.
- animals -“Good on You” checks if and how the brand uses leather, fur, feather and other animal products.
Apart from the overall rating, you can also read a detailed report on the company’s practices and find out which areas still require improvement.
I was curious to find out what the ratings base on, so I wrote an e-mail to the “Good On You” team. Here is the answer that I received:
“Our ratings are based on three main sources of information:
• Certifications and accreditations like Fairtrade, Global Organic Textile Standard, Ethical Clothing Australia, Fairwear and others;
• Research by trusted NGOs including Rank A Brand, Greenpeace, Shop Ethical and Baptist World Aid;
• Precise, published, and publicly available information taken from a brand’s website and other relevant publicly available information online. In particular, we look for statements that make relevant and specific claims which the brand is held accountable by key stakeholders such as consumers, investors, and policy-makers. This includes things like a commitment not to use Fur and information about climate change targeting and measurements. Please follow the link to find out more.”
The app allows you to find the information about the most popular big retailers- unfortunately, you won’t be able to learn about smaller, local companies. If your favourite brand is not there, you can suggest adding it to the list, but investigating its practices might take some time.
“Good on You” is also a website where you can read very good articles related to ethical fashion. I have signed up for a newsletter and I regularly receive some interesting updates.
Too Good To Go
Some time ago I wrote about OLIO, today I would like to mention another app which aims to reduce food waste. It is called Too Good To Go and was created in the UK. Cafes and restaurants can use the app to inform the users about the food surplus which they haven’t been able to sell. The customers can then purchase those items at heavily discounted prices. They only need to place their order on the selected meal and then collect it in the designated time window. This is a win-win situation for both sides: the customers save their money and the restaurants generate additional revenue by selling what would otherwise land in a bin. The only problem is that the app is currently only available in the United Kingdom. However, I still believe it’s worth mentioning because so many nationalities now live in the UK. Besides, the Too Good To Go website has already a German, French and Norwegian language version which could mean that it can be soon available in other countries.
Against animal testing
There are (at least) two applications which allow you to check whether your cosmetics or cleaning products have been tested on animals. Bunny Free has been created by PETA, while Leaping Bunny is a tool offered by The Cruelty Free International and its partners based in Canada and the US. I have installed both apps and here is what I think about them:
In my opinion, Bunny Free is more user-friendly and visually attractive. You can use it to find the companies that don’t test on animals (marked with a bunny logo) and the ones that carry out such tests (a black triangle with an exclamation mark). You can also apply more specific filters to find companies that only sell vegan products or the ones working for regulatory change. It means that they only test on animals when it is required by law. They also “promote development, validation, and acceptance of non-animal methods.” You might ask what are these ratings based on. Well, according to the information on the website they are created based simply on the companies declaration. A retailer interested in being certified with the Bunny Free logo needs to fill in a short questionnaire and sign a statement assuring they do not and will not conduct or pay for any animal tests. While obviously a company lying about testing on animals is risking a public relations disaster in the event of an information leak, one might wonder if a simple declaration from a company is a reliable source of knowledge about its practices.
Leaping Bunny (Cruelty Free)
Leaping Bunny is a bit less user-friendly (at least, the Android version that I’m using). The app only shows a list of the companies that DO NOT test on animals, it does not mention the brands that definitely conduct such tests. However, according to the information available on the CFI website, a brand that would like to be granted the Leaping Bunny certificate needs to meet very strict criteria, among others implement procedure to monitor practices of their suppliers and be open to independent audits (more on the standard applied by CFI can be read here). This means that if a selected brand can be found on the Leaping Bunny list, you can be sure that it has been thoroughly checked and verified.
- More about “Good On You” can be found on their website: https://goodonyou.eco/
- And here you can read about “Too Good To Go”: http://toogoodtogo.co.uk/
- Finally, frequently asked questions and answers about the Leaping Bunny program: http://www.leapingbunny.org/about/faq