The app that helps you shop ethically – and what I learned using it

A minimum of thats according to CoGo, an app Im using to track the effect my spending has on the environment. It reckons Im culpable for 718kg of CO2. Thats like driving from Lands End to John oGroats and back with a spare 33 miles in the tank for detours or roadworks.

By tracking the carbon effect of your spending in real-time and revealing you methods to decrease and offset it, CoGo intends to make ethical living easy. Daniel Fahey attempts it out

The results are so worrying that Im now thinking two times about ordering my grandmother the Anton du Beke unique she wants for her birthday (not just for environmental factors, admittedly). And Im actively taking a look at ways to lower my footprint to 180kg a month, the level the app tells me is sustainable.

Like many people living through the English lockdown, I havent been anywhere in weeks, other than to go food shopping or complete my shifts at a coffee shop. Opportunities to invest cash have actually been limited. Ive purchased a couple of birthday gifts– generally from regional, independent shops– and yet my carbon footprint this month remains stubbornly high; the very same as lowering 12 trees.

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As assisting motivate more sustainable shopping, the app enables users to balance out carbon by contributing to projects managed by Southpole, a social enterprise that works with governments and organizations to decarbonise the economy.

” Ben understood that federal government policy would just presume in terms of driving modification at rate and critical to producing this modification is empowering consumers with better details to make educated choices to benefit people and plant,” explains Emma Kisby, CoGos handling director.

The CoGo app has been downloaded more than 50,000 times globally. And it has more than 20,000 UK services listed on it, all of which have been approved by partners consisting of the Carbon Trust, the Sustainable Restaurant Association, Social Enterprise UK, Co-Operatives UK and the Living Wage Foundation. Its a considerable figure, however for CoGo to use complete protection of the UK, it will require numerous more independent shops and high street sellers to sign up.

The app offers users a carbon breakdown for their purchases. Image: CoGo

” All of Southpoles projects comply with worldwide identified requirements for emissions reduction jobs and are audited routinely by independent third-party organisations to ensure additionality and environmental integrity of projects,” says Kisby.


Referred to as the first ethical suggestion engine, CoGo was established by Ben Gleisner, an ecologist from New Zealand who wanted to assist customers change their costs to companies that shared their worths.

” Were firm followers that everybody should be progressing to a phase where your invest is seen as a vote– a vote in your local economy, an elect your favourite services, a choose your political leanings and a vote for the world you wish to see.”

Important to driving [favorable] change is empowering consumers with much better information to make educated options

Back on the app and Im being applauded for the favorable impact I had on the environment in December. Obviously, I conserved 135kg of CO2 by being on a renewable resource tariff and by being vegetarian (this was an approximation as the app cant inform, say, whether Im buying British or peruvian blueberries). It also recommends ways I could even more decrease my effect, including composting my food waste and leasing clothes rather of purchasing new. Extending the life expectancy of a garment by simply three months can reportedly result in a 5-10 percent decrease in each of the water, carbon and waste footprints.

Among the companies on the app is Hurr, an online style rental platform with a pop-up shop in Selfridges, London. “As carbon tracking warms up as an industry, its crucial that Hurr clients can easily understand how CO2 tracking works and the positives of leasing rather than purchasing new,” discusses its co-founder, Victoria Prew.

CoGo empowers customers by giving computing the impact of their purchases in real-time. Image: CoGo

” Theres an amazing growing urge from people to desire to affect change with their purchasing power and CoGo has actually found a way to harness this brilliantly,” states Iona Ratcliffe, CMO at Ocean Bottle, that makes recyclable drinks bottles and funds plastic waste clearance in the Philippines, Brazil, Indonesia and Haiti. “Their users are precisely the kind of users that represent our neighborhood so its a good synergy. Plus, it feels great to be part of the future of commerce.”

Along with measuring the carbon impact of specific users, the app utilizes sustainability professionals and in-house fact-checkers to keep track of the practices of noted businesses. They evaluate whether companies are reducing waste, paying a reasonable living wage or contributing to environmental and social charities. CoGo likewise offers feedback to brands to assist them enhance sustainability.

” Being paid the genuine Living Wage has actually made a big difference to me,” states Luke Parker, a barman at the Pembury Tavern in Hackney. “It suggests I am no longer working continuously simply to pay the costs.”

As assisting the planet, the CoGo app identifies companies that pay staff a Living Wage. Raised to ₤ 9.50 across the UK and ₤ 10.85 in London in November 2020, the Living Wage is a voluntary plan to help businesses pay workers a fair income. It differs from the governments National Living Wage, which is ₤ 8.72.

According to CoGo, I spent just 6.3 percent in organizations that pay the Living Wage in December. This is something I can quickly resolve: my regional bookshop is a Living Wage company– and its got a copy of Anton du Bekes One Enchanted Evening.

Main image: Free To Use Sounds

At least thats according to CoGo, an app Im utilizing to track the impact my costs has on the environment. The CoGo app has actually been downloaded more than 50,000 times worldwide. Its a significant figure, but for CoGo to offer total coverage of the UK, it will require numerous more independent stores and high street merchants to sign up.

” Theres an incredible growing urge from people to want to affect modification with their buying power and CoGo has actually discovered a method to harness this remarkably,” says Iona Ratcliffe, CMO at Ocean Bottle, which makes multiple-use drinks bottles and funds plastic waste clearance in the Philippines, Brazil, Indonesia and Haiti. As helping the planet, the CoGo app identifies businesses that pay personnel a Living Wage.

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