Now I will be straight up and this app is not a free one and will set you back $4.49. In saying that I do believe I have certainly got my money worth from it and it has opened my eyes into how the corporate world works and is even linked.
This app is not really practical to take shopping with you as (depending what product or company you are researching) there can be a lot of information to read. It is probably better to write a shopping list out and then research from there (otherwise it could be a long shopping trip).
There are several things I like about this app. Firstly it is quite easy to navigate. It will tell you if the product is Australian made. It will also tell you who the parent company is eg. Uncle Tobys is owned by Nestle.
The information provided by the app is quite extensive. There are different levels products are ranked. The best ranked products have a bold green circle with a bold green tick. If the products are Australian made they have a picture of Australia next to the ranking.
The worse ranking products receive a bold red circle with a bold red line through it.
Once you press the information icon detailed information becomes available. For the following example of the detailed informtion I will use Nestle.
Nestle Australia is in fact owned by the parent company Nestle. While Nestle Australia claim to be a GE-Free brand and are a signatory to the Australian Packaging Covenant. However Shop Ethical! are calling for a boycott of Nestle primarily due to the activities of the parent company. These reasons include:
- The irresponsible marketing of infant formula in developing countries leading to infant deaths. The boycott was reinstated due to a perceived non-compliance to World Health Organisation Code regulations.
- Control of water in North America.
- Irresponsible marketing (especially in relation to baby formula).
- Promotion of bottled water.
- Child labour: for continuing to buy cocoa from the Ivory Coast, despite the use of forced child labour in that country.
- Workers rights.
- Water pollution in China.
- Poor wages for coffee farmers.
While that may be enough to convince you to boycott the company, it is clear that educating people on these types of issues does place pressure on companies. It was about 2010 when the pressure was applied to companies regarding the use of palm oil. Since then and it has been noted that Nestle have made some changes. In 2011, Nestle received a score of 8 out of a possible 9 in the WWF Palm Oil Buyers’ Scorecard.
As you may be able to tell the information is quite detailed. It is an interesting exercise to go through your pantry. I was in fact quite horrified the first time around. However the app can be quite empowering as it allows you to make an informed choice and it is relatively easy to find an alternative. It also allows you to take your research on a particular product further, as there are hyperlinks to other organisations for more information.
Shop Ethical! also has its own website that gives you further information about the community based, not-for-profit organisation and network, plus reinforcing product information.
For those that want to be informed about the products they buy this app is worth the investment.