Ethical Shopping

grocery shopping tea aisle

I recently lost a texting battle with my churchwarden Jean. I suggested that I could type faster on my blackberry keypad compared to her touchscreen iPhone.

I lost.

I also made more spelling mistakes. sigh.

Now I find that I am likely to fall further behind.

ethical shopping app for iphone

iPhone shopping

The Guardian has announced a new application for the iPhone (and iPad and iPod touch – not a lot of Blackberry there) that allows you to check the ethical status of products.

It is produced by the Ethical Company Organisation. It’s Good Shopping Guide allows you to check in realtime how ethical a product really is.

The app lists over 700 well-known brands, ranked in 72 product-specific league tables under seven main sections, from food and drink to health and beauty to travel and energy. A summary table shows “the good, the bad and the ugly” brands in relation to the environment, human rights and animal welfare. Points scores give an overall “ethical rating” to easily identify the best performing brands and companies.

The idea behind this is a great one. Many of us would like to buy more ethically sourced products. What I specially liked (reading the article) was that they gave a score out of 100. Although many of the Fairtrade products scored the highest this didn’t mean that mainstream brands always did badly. So in terms of tea:

Popularity is no predictor of a high ethical score in the guide. In the tea section, the UK’s biggest brand, Tetley Tea, scores an Ethical Company Index (ECI) rating of just 57 out of a 100, compared with Cafédirect Tea (100), Yorkshire Tea (96) and Typhoo (91).

So Yorkshire Tea and Typhoo tea although not at the heights of Cafédirect still do really well.

So its over to you iPhone addicts to let us know how well the app works. It costs £2.99 (with 10% of the price going to Friends of the Earth)


5 comments on “Ethical Shopping

  1. Jean
    February 5, 2011 at 8:00 pm #

    Mentioned in a blog. Honoured! Just one correction, it’s an iPhone 4 – there’s a difference you know.
    More seriously, I took a look at the app which is a great idea in theory in terms of making us ethically aware, but as an app – true iPhone buffs will give it a miss as it appears to be no more than a little digital booklet. I agree with one reviewer of the app who says that it was put together by someone without an iPhone. iPhone owners would expect this sort of app to allow you to scan barcodes on items on the supermarket shelf and have the information appear on screen.
    Any aid to ethical shopping has to be applauded – but I need to save my £2.99 to spend on some delicious Fair Trade dried pineapple.

  2. Will Cookson
    February 6, 2011 at 5:05 pm #

    Thanks Jean. Sorry it isn’t very good. It is surprising that they make a half finished app and then try and charge you good money for it. Still I hope it helps some people.

  3. Paul Barnard57
    February 9, 2011 at 11:47 pm #

    i wonder how Apple do on the ethical rating compared to a Blackberry?
    ……………………….. hmmn they are both available as locally grown seasonal produce, do blackberries get extra points for being available freely in the wild?

    • Will Cookson
      February 10, 2011 at 8:46 am #

      Of course, apples aren’t really native to this country. They were imported. So does that also give the blackberry extra points for not being imported??

  4. Naomi
    November 15, 2011 at 8:36 pm #

    @Paul Barnard57 – This website might be a good starting point if you want to compare the ethics of the major players in technology;

    Its focus is on the use of conflict minerals from Congo, but if even the smallest components of a phone aren’t sourced ethically then there’s not much hope for the rest of it..!

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