Ethical Products: Handy phone app to make the right choice

How handy would it be to have an app on your phone to let you know if a product is ethical or not? That's exactly was Germany company, checkitmobile GmbH was thinking when they developed an application called barcoo. It gives consumers access to a brand's social, ethical and environmental profile by scanning the barcode of the product they are buying.

barcoo works on a traffic light system through the camera on a mobile phone which scans the product's barcode. The system rates ethical products in red, amber or green.  Consumers can also find out about CSR activities about the company and how transparent it is. WeGreen, a German environmental firm has partnered with barcoo to give it access to CSR information on brands from over 20 international institutions.

Benjamin Thym, the founder of barcoo was quoted saying, "Barcoo has been designed to encourage consumers to look deeper into the sustainability of the products they consume." Having such information on a handy app will certainly boost ethical consumerism as it rules out the confusing decision making process.

Thym also said that having information at hand about the "sustainability and ethics" of a brand "will not only empower the shopper but will also push manufacturers towards further embracing the growing trend of being more green and ethical."

In addition to the manufacturer's ethical profile, barcoo offers a price comparison and provides nutritional information on food products. barcoo also includes a fish guide whereby consumers can scan a fish product and retrieve guidance from the International Seafood Guide and the WWF on whether the fish is on the endangered species list. It is already available in mainland Europe, where it has been installed on over 1.4 million mobiles phones to date, barcoo is now being launched onto the UK market.

Although preliminary users say that the information is still sketchy because it is still in its early stages, its usability is appealing. barcoo is available and accessible for the iPhone, Android devices, Nokia, Samsung and other smartphones.

Photo: barcoo returns ethical information on thousands of products