The Buycott app allows consumers to identify if the products they’re purchasing are related to any organizations/causes that they oppose or support.
How it works: First, users determine which campaigns they are for or against. There are several existing campaigns, including “Say No to Monsanto”, “Avoid Sweatshop & Child Labor”, “Support Veterans” and “Equality for LGBTQ.” When the user scans a product with the app, Buycott will up the product, determine what brand it belongs to, and figure out what company owns that brand (and who owns that company, ad infinitum). It then cross-checks the product owners against the companies and brands included in the campaigns the user has joined, in order to tell them if the scanned product conflicts with one of their campaign commitments.
Why I’m Curious:
This is a simple concept that many people would find quite useful. For instance, the US government doesn’t require any GMO items to be labeled; and big food corporations actually spend millions of dollars to keep this kind of information off their packaging. This app is a great example of how technology can be utilized to empower people to intelligently make decisions about issues concerning their values and livelihoods. If successful (and technically sound), I think this app has potential to inspire an environment that would hold many corporations increasingly accountable for their actions, as the knowledge gained will directly influence consumer perception and ultimately demand.