There’s an app for that.
Last month saw the launch of Buycott – a phone app that scans items in your grocery cart for any sign of products with ties to corporate values or business practices you wish not to support as a consumer. The app lets you identify items associated with organizations like Monsanto and Koch Brothers, or known to support or conduct the use of unfavorable practices like genetic modification (GMOs), testing on animals or containing animal products, or discouraging LGBT rights.
After downloading the app to your iPhone or Android from Buycott.com, you can join a variety of “campaigns” declaring disapproval of various things, people and doings. Then as you shop, Buycott researches each of your intended purchases for you by simply scanning product bar codes with your phone camera.
The app then traces the manufacturing of your tomatoes, toiletries and tank tops back to their top parent companies and crosschecks these companies against the campaigns that you’ve joined, letting you know if there’s a conflict, explains Buycott’s website.
The app helps the average consumer navigate through the deep-rooted corporate connections that in the end make up the handful of influential parent companies dominating trades.
Darcy Burner, a former Microsoft programmer and congressional candidate who pitched much the same idea at last year’s gathering of Netroots Nation, figured the average supermarket shopper had no idea that buying Brawny paper towels, Angel Soft toilet paper or Dixie cups meant contributing cash to Koch Industries through its subsidiary Georgia-Pacific. Or similarly, that buying yoga pants made primarily of Lycra meant indirectly handing the Kochs your money (Koch Industries bought Invista, one of the world’s largest fiber and textiles companies, in 2004 from DuPont). –Forbes
To watch Forbes test drive the app in a supermarket aisle, click here.