Q: What are your criteria for determining product and brand ratings?
A: We use third party analyses, certifications, and classifications. We are not trying to be the experts in any one area. There are plenty of very smart people doing wonderful, important research and analysis. It’s just really tedious to find all of this information. And unfortunately, this information is being underutilized by the people who could use it most effectively to make decisions in life. That’s a big part of what we’re doing: compiling sources, collecting research, synthesizing, and providing users with information that’s efficient to access, easy to digest, and fully transparent (in terms of where we’re getting our source data).
Q: How often will data be updated?
A: Continuously. Companies are constantly changing their social priorities, sometimes for the better, other times for the less than better. Companies merge, sell off brands, and hire new leadership. New reports and data are also constantly being produced. Shop the Change works to stay ahead of all of this, so that our information is as current as possible.
Q: Will Shop the Change be a desktop app or a mobile app?
A: Both. Initially, Shop the Change will be a desktop app. Once it’s completed, a mobile version will be developed.
Q: Will my information be shared? What will you do with my data?
A: Yes, it will be shared. One of the long-term goals of Shop the Change is to use data to encourage companies to engage in more progressive, responsible business practices. That said, Shop the Change will allow users to select their preferences regarding sharing.
Q: How do you determine what values to cover?
A: We selected our first six values based on a combination of survey work and the Shop the Change staff’s own personal values. In the future, we plan to cover other values, like shopping for locally produced goods.
Q: How does Shop the Change address users’ varying definitions of what is acceptable under a value? For instance, some people believe animal products can never be acquired humanely and others do.
A: Shop the Change will provide users with search filters that will allow users to exclude sub-values that do not align with their personal standards. Users will also be able to review the background of 3rd party analysis sources and their review factors and filter accordingly.
Q: How is Shop the Change different from boycott apps and other apps that promote values companies?
A: (1) Shop the Change has a positive focus and (2) enables users to seek out and support their values in an efficient, user-friendly manner. Boycotting apps while useful, are more about telling users what not to do and focus on the negative. Shop the Change provides users with information on how to support companies that align with their values. Similar apps are also built for either users who have the time and desire to conduct massive amounts of research or users who do not care about ratings transparency or users who only shop at high-end or niche stores. Shop the Change has been designed with the busy head of household shopper in mind, who occasionally wants to easily find out the background on ratings, and shops at stores ranging from the mainstream to the niche. Basically, it is an app that is accessible and appropriate for all users who care about conscious consumerism.
Q: How do you respond to the argument that conscious consumerism can’t make a difference and people are better off shopping cheaply and donating their savings to activists and non-profits?
A: While we do believe that people should financially support causes that they believe in, we also believe that conscious consumerism can make a difference in the world. Conscious consumerism has not only influenced the standards for doing business, but has also enticed companies to engage in advocacy that has altered political and social landscapes. Many companies have massive influence throughout the world, but really only use it if it is in their best interest. The primary force causing them to use that influence is their target market, i.e., their customers and potential customers. They answer to us and if it is in their best interest to align their values with us, they will often do just that.
Q: Are you a non-profit company?
A: No, we are not. However, we aspire to one day become a B-Corp that gives back to its community, engages in progressive activism, and provides an example of a company that is working hard to make the world a better place.
Q: Will you go into covering other industries?
A: Yes. Right now we are starting with groceries, but we hope to one day cover almost any industry where there are shoppers who want to make their shopping decisions based on their values.