Eco Friendly Shopping – There’s An App For That
Eco Friendly Shopping
More and more consumers are thinking about the environment when making purchases. Whether it’s emissions or plastic pollution, being ‘eco friendly’ is all the rage.
The only problem is, it’s sometimes hard work.
Sure, there are many consumers that will go out of their way to shop responsibly, but there is a much bigger group of people that want to shop responsibly, but don’t feel like they have the time or money to do so.
In this post, I want to highlight a great social enterprise hoping to make sustainable shopping easy.
Referring to themselves as your ‘sustainable shopping companion’, Giki have created an innovative solution to conscious consumerism. Here’s how it works:
- Consumers use the app to scan the barcodes of products they buy.
- The app uses ‘badges’ to tell the consumer how responsible that product is.
- If it isn’t very responsible, Giki will recommend alternatives that are.
It’s as simple as that.
At the crux of Giki’s concept are the 12 ‘badges’ that they use to label products. As well as the eco friendly badges, they also award 2 for ‘fairness’ and 3 for ‘heath’. This helps consumers make choices that reflect their values.
The image below shows the 12 badges that products can be awarded:
What I love about this idea is the underlying individual element to it. After all, we all care about different societal issues in different ways. For some, animal welfare is paramount, and far more important that carbon footprint. For others, local sourcing is the most important. By awarding individual badges, Giki enable us to make our purchasing decisions personal, and that’s really important.
How It Works
Giki uses government guidelines in combination with scientific research to decide whether or not a product deserves a badge. They use that in conjunction with a clever algorithm to reach a final decision.
Of course, this is likely to spark some debate. How can complex social and environmental issues be quantified and scored?
Giki accept this critique and I can’t help but agree with their defence. The following was taken from Giki’s website:
On the one hand it is almost impossible to present the entire spectrum of arguments in a simple, intuitive manner. However, at the same time it is that same information overload that is making it hard for people to find products that fit with their values and beliefs. We hope that by providing easy to understand badges, whilst at the same time being transparent about how those badges were awarded, users can decide for themselves and, where they want to, do further research into these complex issues.
To oversee the awarding process and maintain its integrity, Giki have set up an independent advisory board. Made up of a range of industry experts, this helps ensure that badges aren’t awarded willy-nilly.
They take it all very seriously. And rightly so.
In less that a week, Giki is officially launching.
After that, it’ll be a long road towards creating a more sustainable future.
At the moment, they have 250,000 products on their system, and they’re constantly adding more. I think it’s interesting that they’ve chosen to rate products instead of companies. In many ways, this is more accurate, as even ‘responsible’ companies can have products that don’t meet their usual high standards. Going forward though, I’d love to see a company feature added, as conscious consumers are usually very loyal. Once they’ve found companies that share their values, they want to build long lasting relationships with them.
If the app could aggregate products to award company badges, then I think it would be a real game changer.
Secondly, they’ve currently only developed Giki for iPhones. With 44.43% of the UK using Android, I think Giki’s progress will be massively slowed down if they don’t launch an Android version.
Whilst I don’t think that ethical consumerism, on its own, is the solution to our problems, it certainly has its uses. If people start to make simple swaps in their everyday lives, companies will slowly gain an incentive to react accordingly.
Personally, I think that Giki is exactly the kind of app that makes eco friendly shopping accessible. Whether we like it or not, most people won’t shop responsibly if they have to go out of their way to do so. I think Giki solves that problem.
However, this is a concept that, unlike most social enterprises, only works at scale. It’s literally only as good as the number of products it has registered. 250,000 is great considering they haven’t actually launched yet, but they’ll need to rapidly increase that number and partner with brands/retailers in order to reach their potential.
It’s a big dream, but most of the time, they’re the ones that are worth pursuing.
With Giki’s launch only a few days away, keep your eyes peeled.
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Hi! I’m an author and blogger within the fields of social impact and responsible business. I believe that businesses can be a force for good in the world, and this website contains my thoughts on how that can work.