Ethical Shopping Apps | SHOP ETHICA

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9 Ethical Shopping Apps & Plug-Ins

Authentic CSR or greenwashing gone wild? It's not always easy to tell. But a growing number of tech tools make it easier to use your purchasing power for the greater good. Whether your goal is to swap rather than shop or learn to pause before making a purchase, there's–what else?–an app for that. The ones on this list, along with two innovative plug-ins, offer a range of ethical-shopping solutions. Discover where to source eco-style on the go, how to turn a buying spree into philanthropy, and a slew of social-good services in between.

  1. Avoid The aptly named Avoid plug-in prevents your browser from displaying clothing that may have been made by minors. Active Against Child Labour, the German group whose data powers Avoid, hopes it will pressure companies to clean up their supply chains and eradicate the practice. The plug-in works at sites like ASOS, Yoox, Amazon, Target and Macy’s. For Safari and Google Chrome
     
  2. CauseCart
    The motto at CauseCart is “fundraising is free.” With this browser add-on, a percentage of every purchase you make at participating e-tailers automatically goes to a charity you select—and the donation comes out of the merchant’s pocket, not yours. For Firefox and Google Chrome

     
  3. Social Impact
    Imagine a fair-trade-focused Foursquare, and you'll have a sense of this app, which uses your mobile device's GPS feature to clue you in to responsible businesses within a 40-mile radius. The choices aren't always plentiful, but company websites are listed for those instances when there's no ethical brick-and-mortar retailer in your vicinity. For iPad and iPhone

     
  4. The Mutual
    Trade good deeds for discounts              through this membership-based app. Businesses–including ethical jewelry line Kora and eco boutique Sustain NYC–let members shop their wares at lower prices as a "reward" for their monthly membership dues: a minimum $10 donation to one of The Mutual's charity partners. For iPhone and Android

     
  5. Green Glam Go 
    The mobile offshoot of this eco-fashion site gives readers on-the-go access to its sustainable-lifestyle content, as well as the ability to purchase products from its retail partners directly from their phones. For select Nokia smartphones

     
  6. Closet Swap
    This app turns your Facebook pictures into an online closet from which friends can borrow or swap items—and vice-versa. This not only extends the lifecycle of pre-loved apparel, but it also makes you less likely to stock up on new stuff. For iPhone

     
  7. Watch With eBay
    Through this app's Shop Like a Star feature, famous faces like Lady Gaga and Tory Burch introduce fans to their favorite nonprofits and encourage them to lend their support to those causes too. Shoppers can browse eBay listings that benefit a celeb's chosen charity, and they can also add a donation of their own at checkout time. For iPad

     
  8. Good Guide
    If you're committed to using your purchasing power to boycott or support companies on the basis of how they conduct their business, the ultra-thorough Good Guide is for you. Its researchers mined mountains of public data and scientifically rate corporations on whether their products are safe, green, healthy and ethical. Barcode scanning makes it particularly simple to retrieve info about an item before buying it.    For iPhone and Android

     
  9. Instead 
    What if you want to curb your consumerism altogether? Download Instead, an app through which you can substitute everyday purchases with donations to various causes. The premise: the next time you reach for your pocketbook to buy anything from a latte to a lipstick... don't. Instead, take a moment to consider whether a charity could put those dollars to better use, and if you feel the inclination, donate the funds to them right through your phone. For iPhone


     
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