CNBC recently published a report on some innovative smartphone apps developed by nonprofits to enable consumers to use their buying power to support socially responsible companies.
What follows is an excerpt of the article by Cadie Thompson:
Advocacy organizations are mounting a mobile marketing push to promote more responsible shopping with apps that give consumers the scoop on how a corporation’s policies and actions align with the shopper’s own views on issues like sustainability and human rights. The apps encourage consumers to only buy products and shop at retailers that share the same moral pillars as the shopper.
“Smartphones are changing the way people are living their lives. They (apps) influence spending decisions and this is the next evolution of that,” Scott Ellison, mobile retail analyst for IDC, said. “Make an app easy, intuitive and fun and people will begin to change their behavior.”
Tapping into the App World for Change
The Human Rights Campaign launched their Buying for Equality app last Tuesday. The app rates companies using its 2010 Corporate Equality Index, an annual report that scores companies on a scale from 1 to 100 based on how well their policies support lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. Such policies include anti-discrimination protections, domestic partner benefits and diversity training.
Corporations in the app are color-coded based on their score either green, yellow or red. Green (score: 80-100) means the company supports the cause, yellow (score: 46-79) represents companies working towards supporting the cause and red (score: 0-45) indicating the company has not taken many steps to supporting the cause.
Although the app was initiated to help its core supporters — a loyal group of consumers whose buying power was projected to be about $712 billion in 2008, according to the marketing firm Whiteck-Combs Communications — HRC sees the app becoming a tool for any shopper looking to be more conscious. The app has gained over 4,000 users in its first week, Eric Bloem, the deputy director for the Workplace Project for HRC.