Several times on my journey to be a better human/shop better/be a more conscious consumer, people have asked me how to do it. What resources do I use? How can you tell if a company is ethical? Etc., etc.
Well, beyond just doing a lot of research on a lot of topics and a lot of investigating into certain brands, I have had some help along the way.
I have several “go to” places when I’m looking for information on a certain topic, or when I’m trying to find new brands, or when I’m just trying to do better. And, I’m happy to say, there’s an app (and some other websites, etc.) for that.
Good On You
The team at Good On You wanted to make it easy for anyone, anywhere to shop their values, that’s why they created an app that puts trusted ethical fashion brand ratings in the palm of your hands. You can check on a brand for it’s impact on people, the planet and animals right from your phone. From the app you can check how brands rate (the company rates more than 1,000 fashion brands so you can easily search for your favorite brand’s rating); it helps you discover similar brands that match your style and your values; helps you find deals on brands that are doing it better (they offer exclusive discounts from brands rated ‘Great’ or ‘Good’); and also lets you congratulate brands that are doing well, or tell brands that aren’t that you want change. You can also check out their blog, The Good Edit for more information about ethical shopping and ethical brands.
Tired of all of low quality, cheap goods that were mass produced, using unreal, synthetic and toxic materials, in overseas factories that don’t treat workers well (yes, it’s quite the list), the team at DoneGood wanted to help people return to their roots. They want to make it easy for people to look for the unique, the simple, the natural and the good. With DoneGood app you can select the issues that matter most to you — i.e. Supports Workers, Green, Made in the USA, Vegan, Women-Owned, Organic, Non-Toxic, etc. — then enter the kind of product you are looking for and the quickly find brands that are making unique products that fit the bill. With the DoneGood Chrome extension, you just go to the site that you would normally shop and the DoneGood icon will pop up if the site is approved, or they will offer more ethical suggestions that are similar if it’s not. And if boycotting businesses that support Trump is your thing (I mean, isn’t it for us all?), the extension also makes it easy to boycott said businesses, as a little red alert pops up when you visit a site that sells Trump products. And because everyone loves a good discount, the extension shows you discount codes for DoneGood approved sites when you visit them.
Causeartist is a media platform driven by socially conscious consumers, writers and brands looking to change the world through social impact and social enterprise. Because they believe that consumers have a lot of power to change the landscape of the world through their purchases, it was created as a place to discover, educate, inform and introduce readers, consumers, investors, organizations and brands to the amazing things the social enterprise industry had to offer. It’s a great place to find creative brands, startups and social entrepreneurs that are impacting the world through business. You can browse the sites topics — Tech, Fashion, Travel, Business or Health — or sort through by what’s popular or trending, as well as look for ethical companies by location.
Treehugger was one of the pioneers of green media, i.e. they have been around for a long time. They are the leading media outlet dedicated to driving sustainability mainstream, and strive to be a one-stop shop for green news, solutions and product information. In addition to their daily newsletter, I find Treehugger is also a great blog to search when I’m researching a topic for information and brands to shop if concerned about said topic.
The Environmental Working Group
The Environmental Working Group, or EWG, is a great resource looking to empower people to live healthier lives in a healthier environment. With over two decades of research, the non-profit, non-partisan organization is dedicated to protecting human health and the environment. Through education they hope to drive consumer choice and civic action to help change the world for the better. EWG has tons of consumer guides on their site, as well their Healthy Living app that provides ratings for more than 120,000 food and personal care products right in the palm of your hands.
GoodGuide is a website and an app that wants to help you find better, healthier products, anytime, anywhere, for free. They offer GoodGuide ratings on personal care, food, household, baby and kids products, in an attempt to provide consumers with the information they need to make better shopping decisions. You can search their site for the type of product you’re looking for (i.e. tinted moisturizer) and it will generate a list of the highest rated products on the market (through science-based ratings, people). And, if you’re out shopping, you can use their barcode scanning feature to easily retrieve product ratings and information while you shop.
Project Just is on a mission to change the way we shop. They believe that consumers have the power to shift the industry by voting with their wallet, but that without information they will continue to buy fashion that is harmful to the environment and full of worker abuses. That is why they created an online platform to empower consumers to make informed and thoughtful decisions about the clothes they buy. Their site encourages consumers to dig deeper into the practices of the brands they shop. To that end, the platform is broken up into three parts — research, where you can find more about a brand’s supply chain practices, like working conditions and waste management); discover, where you can find brands that have the Project Just Seal of Approval and are doing the right thing; and learn, where you can stay informed, learn about the issues and be inspired.
Love Food Hate Waste
Love Food Hate Waste wants to help you find your food its perfect match. I’ve mentioned them before, but by finding a tasty match (i.e. recipe) for your leftover food, Love Food Hate Waste aims to help you reduce food waste at home. The app helps you cut food waste in two ways. First, it provides recipes based on the the leftover food in your kitchen — I mean, don’t we all want to know how to combine leftover Chinese takeout with leftover Pizza to make one glorious meal? But, the app doesn’t stop there, it also has a sophisticated set of planners that helps you plan what you’re cooking for the week, what the portions should be and what you need to shop for. Sounds like this thing is just making my life easier left and right.
Elliot for Water
Elliot for water is just like Google, except that instead of just an embarrassing search history, it also creates drinking water every time you search. When a user searches on Elliotforwater.com and clicks on one of the ‘Water Links,” (sponsored links), Elliot For Water automatically receives the money to deliver clean and drinkable water to those who don’t have it. Elliot For Water is on a mission to bring drinkable water to as many people as possible, that is why they donate 60% of their profits to buy Solwa Technologies, solar energy based products that purify dirty or polluted water through desalination, the irrigation of arid grounds, and the dehydration of food.
In a similar fashion, Ecosia (why yes, I have talked about them before, thank you for noticing) plants a tree for every search you do through their Google Chrome extension. Here’s how it works: 1) You search the web using the Ecosia search engine, 2) AdsSearch ads generate income for Ecosia, and 3) Ecosia uses this income to plant trees. The Berlin based company donates 80% of its surplus ad revenue to nonprofit conservationist organizations that plant trees. To date, the search engine has raised almost $3 million for reforestation projects and planted over 7.5 million trees in Peru, Madagascar, Indonesia and Burkina Faso. And, the Certified B Corp is working towards a goal to plan one billion trees by 2020. You can learn more form Ecosia and explore their financial reports here.
What are some of your favorite apps, websites or resources to help you be a smarter consumer?