Bridge The Gap On Eco-Labels With Mobile Apps

Last week Sustainable Brands ran an interesting article about mobile apps. The magazine found some research that indicates the potential to reduce the need for eco-labels. The research asserts that by scanning bar codes with a smart phone you can get reliable information on the real performance of the product you’re about to put in the shopping cart.

We’ve talked about eco-labels, or certifications, and the potential for greenwashing in previous posts. Sustainable Brands is onto the concept that an independent app company could simplify confusing product information. The leader in this nascent space is GoodGuide.

Using scientific expertise GoodGuide aggregates and scores just about everything you could imagine related to the health of the product, the environmental impact and the company’s contribution to society.

Simply scan the bar code and away you go. The product pops up with scores for health, environment, society and overall performance, but only if it’s in the library of over 145,000 products. You can even dive deeper and check out the ingredients, nutritional data and info behind how they arrived at the scores without leaving the app. If you’re not happy the price, check out the tab for best alternatives. Now add your favorites to your personal list or share them with friends through email or social media.

As a consumer and producer I’m all for these apps, but it’s worth mentioning that although eco-labels may fade away, third-party certifications won’t. A company’s claims about what they do and how sustainability they do it are one thing; third-party sustainability certification of those claims proves you’re the real deal. It’s great to see that GoodGuide gives high marks for valid certifications.

We’re challenged to communicate our certifications and performance we talked about in our video post in December on the big four certifications. When you think about it – a wine bottle only has so much space to tell you about the wine, much less why it’s a sustainable choice. These apps help solve the information gap and in essence are a clearing house for validating any company’s claims. We’re really looking forward to the day when they include wine.