The conscious consumer has been knocking on the door of retailers for years, but following the 2012 collapse of the Rana Plaza manufacturing facility in Bangladesh, which killed 380 garment workers, that knock has become a thunderous roar. The consideration of ethical processes of manufacturing has become front of mind for a lot of consumers, and increasingly brands are being forced to respond.
The good news is that a lot of brands have taken steps in the right direction, with 200 apparel brands, retailers and importers from over twenty countries now official signatories of the Bangladesh Fire and Safety Accord – and that’s just a single certification in dozens that have become standard for even the semi-conscious. The bad news, though, is that a lot of brands are yet to sign on to this or other sustainability certifications.
Either way, consumers have struggled to find the information required to make an informed decision when purchasing their favourite brands.
That is, until now.
“Good on you” is a new app developed right here in Australia, which allows consumers increased freedom of choice through access to information. The app, which was funded through a highly successful crowdfunding campaign, currently includes over 3000 fashion brands. Utilising data from Behind the Barcode, Shop Ethical and other research conducted by the Good on you team, approximately one third of these brands have now been critiqued and given a rating based on their labour policies, environmental impact and treatment of animals.
The app aims to change the impact fast fashion has on the world by giving consumers the information they need to vote with their money and support the brands that are committed to an ethical future. The “Good on you” team and founding organisation, Ethical Consumers Australia, have worked meticulously to rate brands against specific issue certifications, NGO rating projects, multi-stakeholder agreements and industry initiatives.
Key areas of consideration include:
People – looking at the impact across the supply chain including child labour, forced labour, worker safety, the right to association and paying a living wage.
The environment – including direct and indirect impacts, climate change and energy efficiency, environmentally friendly materials, water use, hazardous chemicals, packaging and waste.
and Animals – observing the use of fur and angora, whether ‘mulesing’ is associated with wool production, whether and how the brand uses leather.
The five-level brand rating system allows consumers a single-glance view at how their favourite brands rank in ethical manufacturing practices. Behind the scenes, there is a more complicated algorithm of averages, additions and subtractions based on actual practices in the manufacturing process, whether the brand is a signatory of certain certifications and whether they are acting accordingly.
“Good on you” is designed beautifully, with a clean and simple interface. Upon download, you are required to set up a profile which gives the option to customise your shopping behaviours and preferences and determine what ethical practice is most important to you when buying – the app then suggests brands that care about these too.
Other features include a quick search for brands, products or stores, detailed brand ratings, offers from ‘Good and Great’ rated brands and closest store locations of searched brands. One of the greatest aspects of the app is the ability for users to contact the brand directly and tell them what they’re doing poorly, encourage positive movement and ultimately enforce why sustainability matters.
“Good on you” is available for free through the Apple Store and Google Play, with 1000 brands rated and ready to view and more being added every week.
The app has been developed by a group of people who care passionately about changing the way people buy fashion. Believing that great style and beautiful products shouldn’t involve compromising one’s values, or the life of another.