As much as you care about a cause, it’s difficult to keep up with and remember which companies are supporting your ideals and which are opposing them. Still, many of us like to “vote with our dollars” and the (free) Buycott app for Android and iPhone can make that easier.
Currently, 4 of the top 5 most followed campaigns are food-related. If you’re pro-GMO labeling and anti-Monsanto, this app will certainly have a campaign, or several, to help you out. It’s also interesting to surf through the campaigns by category and find causes you may not have known about or thought of. In education, there’s a campaign to avoid companies that support Common Core. In human trafficking, there’s a campaign to support chocolate that’s produced without child slaves. And if you find Dove’s real beauty campaign and AXE commercials offensive, there’s campaign that will help you avoid all Unilever products in the women’s rights category.
While many campaigns focus on companies to avoid, some include companies to support which puts a more positive spin on things.
Once you’ve chosen your campaigns, scan the bar code on a product. The app will tell you if the product matches any of your campaigns and display information about the product, including the “family tree” which tracks a brand up to the parent company. For example, I can see that Kashi’s a Kellogg’s brand and Kellogg’s is against GMO labeling.
For a relatively new app, Buycott has a pretty comprehensive database. All of the items I scanned were already registered and the “family trees” for major corporations are extensive. The only trouble I’ve run into with the app is navigation. After I surfed around the app a bit, I wanted to get back to the home screen but there was no way to do that on Android.
To test the app, I took my phone to my pantry and started scanning products I buy regularly, like cereal and granola bars. For me, this was the best way to both introduce myself to the app and start to think about changing my buying habits. I thought it would be too overwhelming to take the app on a shopping trip and find out half the items going into my cart were produced by companies that do not fit my ideals. However, changing my buying habits one or two products at a time seems reasonable.