Friday, June 21, 2024

Sustainability information at the scan of a barcode

Shoppers can get access to sustainability information at their fingertips through Tracker, a first-of-its-kind mobile app by SustainabilityTracker.com.

Launched yesterday, the Tracker app centralises sustainability data into a single, easy-to-understand format, helping shoppers make informed choices about the brands and products they support.

“Just like people search for properties on realestate.com.au or food on Uber Eats, we are the digital destination for sustainability information,” said SustainabilityTracker.com Founder and CEO Kiarne Treacy.

“It’s extremely hard for consumers to go to every brand’s website to find out what their sustainability commitments are. We’re calling on brands to do the right thing by consumers and help make it easier.

How it works

Shoppers can simply scan the barcode of their favourite supermarket, chemist or department store item to find out more about its environmental certifications, lifecycle breakdowns and best recycling practices.

The app is said to take the ambiguity out of certifications and accreditations by breaking down their meaning. Shoppers buying items with the Marine Stewardship Council’s blue tick, for example, will be better informed on how they are supporting sustainable seafood practices.

Brands on the platform sign up and self-report their sustainability roadmap and credentials with clear records and supporting evidence. Such credentials are not ranked, rated or scored – it’s simply a platform for businesses to share sustainability information transparently and in line with regulator recommendations.

For businesses yet to join the movement, the Tracker app uses AI solutions to source the best available public data so that consumers will still have access to some information about their favourite brands.

In addition to environmental sustainability information, Tracker allows businesses to substantiate their social and governance claims with tools that help manage detailed information, documentation and third-party certifications.

The platform also has its own editing tool that identifies potentially misleading phrases and guides brands to be clearer, more accurate and transparent, in line with the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s ‘Making environmental claims’ guide for businesses.

“Just say something”

Ms Treacy hopes the launch of the app encourages businesses to “just say something”.

“We know that consumers want to know more about the brands they buy from – not just the brand’s story, but its values and what it’s working towards,” she said.

“Having access to a brand’s sustainability information can be a deciding factor in whether or not consumers even purchase a product.” A 2023 study from McKinsey and NielsenIQ showed a clear link between environmental, social and governance (ESG) claims and consumer purchasing behaviour. According to the study, “products that made ESG-related claims grew faster than those that didn’t” and “account[ed] for nearly half of all retail sales”.

The Tracker app gives businesses a chance to communicate their environmental efforts to consumers – however big or small – without greenwashing.

“We’re mainstreaming the sustainability conversation,” Ms Kiarne said. “Rather than staying silent out of fear, we want brands to communicate their efforts openly, no matter where they’re at.”

Brands who are already signed up include John West, Who Gives A Crap, and BabyLove.

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