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New iPhone app shows how green products are

Emily Smoucha
4th February 2011
Businesses, as well as consumers, can now check the environmental impact and overall ethical rating of hundreds of brands and compare products from different companies quickly and conveniently thanks to a new iPhone application.
The Ethical Company Organisation (ECO) has today launched 'The Good Shopping Guide' as an app available on the iPhone, iTouch and iPad. The application is based on the book of the same name, which has been researching and publishing the social responsibility of major corporations for 10 years. ECO said the app was relevant to businesses as well as consumers, holding ethical ratings for over 700 brands from fridges to printers.

"The app includes lots of relevant information on greening your business and improving the ethical footprint of your office. It is a must have for any facilities manager helping them to make informed decisions on which products and services to buy from office equipment to energy suppliers, travel, banking, insurance and office staples like tea and coffee," the company said in a statement.

How it works

The app is broken down into the seven categories of home and office, food and drink, health and beauty, travel, energy, fashion and money. After consumers choose a category, they can then narrow down their search to a specific product, such as tea. Here, they can compare the Ethical Company Index (ECI) of different brands of tea. The scores are given out of a possible 100 points.

Summary tables are also available, ranking products as 'the good, the bad and the ugly' in categories relating to the environment, human rights and animal welfare.

Consumer spending on green and ethical goods grew from £1.4 billion in 1999 to £7 billion in 2009, according to the Co-operative, but research suggests that consumers want more information about what they are buying. A report by the Carbon Trust Standard in 2009 found that, while 62 per cent of consumers claimed environmental concerns influence their purchasing decisions, 59 per cent were sceptical about businesses’ environmental claims and 44 per cent said they would like more information on what companies are doing to be environmentally friendly.

"Despite the recession, more and more people want products and services that don’t trash the planet — but don’t have much time to investigate the best options," said Andy Atkins, executive director of Friends of the Earth, which will receive a share of the revenue from each app that is downloaded.

Growing trend

Green applications are becoming a more popular method of checking products’ environmental impacts. Late last year, checkitmobile GmbH developed barcoo, a mobile phone app that uses the phone’s camera to scan the product’s barcode. By scanning the code, the app rates the company’s corporate social responsibility, showing its environmental awareness and the way employees are treated.

Apps like these make it faster and easier for businesses and consumers to evaluate the environmental and social impact of the products they choose.

"Portability is completely changing the way consumers are purchasing products and engaging with brands," said Russell Berry, founder of AppCreative.co.uk, the company that produced The Good Shopping Guide app. "Brands that aren't thinking seriously about their mobility strategy are going to be lagging behind their competitors. The Good Shopping Ethical Shopping App was quick and easy for us to build and incorporates the latest technology available for all iPhone users."

Price
The application is now available for download for £2.99, and 10 per cent of the net revenue will go to the Friends of the Earth charity.

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New iPhone app shows how green products are
The Good Shopping Guide app is broken down into seven categories, including home and office
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