In my previous blog ‘How healthy and ‘Green’ is the food you eat?‘ I commented on the fact that eco labeling is gaining traction and soon it will be as commonplace as health labels on food and other products. There were also a couple of valid comments about how this would unravel and who (government and/or private) would lead the way here.
Well, I came across something interesting which seems to answer exactly this question. The GoodGuide.com provides health, enviornmental and social impact information on more than 70,000 day to day products. It was started by Dara O’Rourke a Professor at the University of California-Berkley and a father, who is concerned about the ingredients that go into making the products we use. The goal of the GoodGuide.com is to provide a simple 1-10 point rating system, which hides the complexity and helps the consumers make a choice. The complexity is in the rating, which is based on on 140 criteria that factor in health, environmental, and social practices. All relevant information about the company and its products is collected and fed into a algorithm, which then calculates the rating – More information can be found here – http://www.goodguide.com/about/ratings
Ok, thats great, but how do we as consumers get access to this information? So there is also a Iphone App for that, and its free. Once you have the app, all one needs to do is scan the barcode of the product and ratings on health, enviornmental and social responsibility are displayed. If you don’t have a Iphone, don’t despair, you can still get the ratings by sending a text to ‘41411′, though my guess is that this would only work in the US for now.
I think it should and will become even simpler in future, where the end result i.e. these kind of ratings will be directly printed on the food and product labels. The reason I say this is, because it’s a little bit of a process to scan this information or send a text message. Its fine if you’re buying a couple of products, but imagine doing that for the weekend shopping. Then again, one could argue that, we tend to buy repetitive products and once you’ve done it, its not required the second time over. This is true, and would certainly reduce the burden of the process, but then the ratings also keep changing as more information is available and manufacturers are constantly changing their practices to become more green.
Which means that there’s a long and interesting way to go, but again, it’s a step in the right direction!