The 5 Best CSR and Sustainability Smartphone Apps

Quick post today to share a handful of great apps I’ve recently found.  Then, back to the mountain of homework.

The proliferation of smart phone apps has finally moved into the social sector.  A handful of leaders have deployed apps to efficiently share the information they already offer.  This will be a great tool for transparency going forward.  Apps will offer the public the information they need, at the point of purchase, to make choices that fit with their values.  In the future, voting with your feet may become voting with your phone.  We’ll see…

FYI – The apps listed below are for Android phones, but they’re likely available for iPhones as well.  (Each of the images below is linked back to the app’s Android Market page.)

1. Seafood Watch

The Monterey Bay Aquarium’s app is a must have.  It’s highly usable, slick interface makes it easy to make sustainable seafood purchase decisions.  You can search the general database by class (Best Choice, Good AlternativeAvoid or Browse all) as well as options for sushi (Same categories).  It also has an option which allows you to search for local restaurants and seafood shops in which you can see what others have reported while adding your own findings.  If sustainable seafood matters to you (I assure you it should.), you need this app!

Description from the Android Market:

The Seafood Watch app gives you recommendations for ocean-friendly seafood.Seafood Watch helps you choose ocean-friendly seafood and sushi at your favorite restaurants and stores. Our app delivers up-to-date recommendations along with complete information about how each item is fished or farmed. Plus, the Project Fishmap feature lets you contribute to the app, adding the names or restaurants and stores where you’ve found sustainable seafood and locating what others have found at businesses near you.

2. Public Health News

The Harvard School of Public Health has a nice app which shares news, video and podcasts created by the school as well as from eternal sources.  The app also provides alerts for upcoming events.

Description:

Connect with the public health community. Keep up on news, research and more.With the HSPH Public Health News app members of the Harvard School of Public Health community and others can connect with each other and stay up-to-date on breaking public health news and research, plus events and activities going on around the School.

3. Good Guide

The Good Guide app provides info on sustainability and health/safety considerations of products as well as the firms that make them.  Bar code scanner functionality make lookups effortless.  Overall scores provided by the app are aggregated from ratings on health, environment and societal factors.  Another must have!

Description:

The GoodGuide app helps you find safe, healthy, and sustainable
products while you shop. You can browse, search or simply scan a
barcode to see detailed ratings for health, environment and social
responsibility for more than 90,000 products and companies. GoodGuide
provides this information about personal care, household, toy, food,
pet food and paper products, as well as some electronics and
appliances, for free on your Android mobile device. GoodGuide is
adding thousands of products every month. By making information about
consumer products transparent, GoodGuide’s goal is to help people shop
smarter and to motivate companies to offer even better products.

NOTE: This application requires at least 120MB free storage to accommodate the GoodGuide product database.

4. Just Means

The Just Means site is a great place for all the latest CSR and Sustainability news.  Their app gives you convenient access to all that great info.  You can also sign in with your Just Means account and post comments to the site, as well as post links directly to Twitter and Facebook.  The app also features access to the Global 1000 ratings which score companies on sustainability performance.

Description:

CSR & Sustainability News, Climate Change Discussions and Opinions, Green News

Interested in what companies and organizations are doing to advance social and environmental sustainability, right now? Stay updated on the people, companies, and policy makers in the world of sustainable business in real time with Justmeans.
Find out how publicly traded companies rank against each other in terms of social and environmental performance.

Some of the features of the Justmeans application:
1.) Follow real time updates from companies and organizations on social and environmental performance
2.) Clients of Justmeans can publish directly to the Justmeans distribution network from their phone
3.) Find companies by industry and track their performance vs. their peers

5. Free 2 Work

The latest entrant to this collection is from the abolitionist Not For Sale Campaign which rates firms on their efforts to ensure their supply chains do not include slave labor.  Ratings also depend on the transparency with which the firm deploys these efforts.  The database now holds information on about 80 firms, but they promise to add more soon.

Description:

Free2Work is ground central for the modern-day abolitionist movement on Android, iPhone, and iPod Touch. Slavery exists today, and Free2Work promotes transparency by rating major brands based on their policies to address this human rights issue.With Free2Work, consumers can easily find specific Companies, get updates from other activists, see the latest video and photos from the field, and share information with their friends and family.

Features:
+ Learn how companies like Nike, Adidas, Nestle, Hershey’s and Patagonia are rated and how they are improving.
+ Drill Deep into the record of over 77 companies in categories like Apparel, Electronics, Equipment, Accessories, Food, and Toys.
+ Discuss human trafficking at a new level without even owning a Twitter account.
+ Inform friends and family about company ratings and Free2Work tool.
+ Watch videos from YouTube and see photos from Flickr from within the App.

Find out how to make a difference, and help end human slavery in our lifetime.

That’s the list for now.  I’d love to hear your thoughts on the above and those I might have missed.  Also, let me know if you’re interested in re-posting this.  I want to do whatever I can to spread the word on these great resources.

Thanks for stopping by!

-Chris

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2 thoughts on “The 5 Best CSR and Sustainability Smartphone Apps

  1. Good Guide is great in concept but in reality they are not very transparent with how they score certain products or which companies they consult to on how to get a higher score. This means that unfortunately the ratings they generate can’t be taken at face value as independent, uninterested party scores. So you end up with products with high scores that you would never think would be there.

    Also, they don’t let individuals provide their own weightings for criteria in their scores…e.g., whether a company tests on animals might be important to me…more so than other areas like labor. But Good Guide just assumes their own weights.

  2. Ryan,
    Thanks for chiming in. I’ll have to do some digging on the Good Guide. Certainly a firm whose espoused purpose is providing transparency should live that ideal. Also, I like your suggestion of allowing users to weight criteria to suit their personal interests/ethics. Great idea! Hopefully, the folks at Good Guide will be giving this a read. 🙂
    Chris

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