Giki – The Sustainable Shopping Companion

Wouldn’t it be great to have someone sitting on your shoulder whilst you were shopping helping you to navigate the minefield of labels, symbols and unintelligible terminology found on packaging? Well now you can; at least almost (the someone sitting on your shoulder bit isn’t currently available but who knows…).

Giki is a sustainable shopping companion designed to help consumers make informed decisions about the products they buy. Launched just last week, Giki is an app which rates products not on price, but on whether a product fits with what matters to you.

A Social Enterprise founded by Jo and James Hand who noticed how they, their friends and many people they spoke to were struggling to find products that aligned with their own values. In 2017 the app was released to a small group of 100 beta testers (of which I am proud to have been one of), before the final product was launched last week.

So how does Giki work?

Giki works by awarding badges to each product, allowing users to have a visual representation of the values of each of the products they are purchasing.

The badge designs are simple yet effective, making identification (by colour or image) quick and easy. There are currently twelve badges that can be awarded, covering three main areas. Here is a run down of what they represent:

Sustainability

 

  • Organic – No chemical pesticides and fertilisers. Good for the local environment too.
  • Recyclable packaging – Cuts waste to landfill, saves energy and reduces greenhouse gas emissions
  • Greener cosmetics – Organic and products with more natural ingredients
  • Responsibly sourced – Better for the environment and for workers too
  • Kinder cleaning – More natural or organic chemicals in cleaning products around the home
  • Low carbon footprint – Lower carbon footprint products are better for the environment
  • Local – Made in the UK? Less transportation is better for the environment

Health

  • No chemicals of concern – Contains more natural products, avoids chemicals that can be linked to health or environmental risks
  • Healthier Option – Lower fat, lower sugar, lower salt
  • Free from Additives – Free from additives such as preservatives, colouring, flavourings and sweeteners

Fairness

  • Animal welfare – Kinder to animals
  • No animal testing – Good news for animals

The badges draw on a number of different sources such as product information, government guidelines and scientific research. The data is put into a database which algorithmically scores each product against all the badge options in order to create the product information.

You can read more about the Giki badge system here

So what do I do?

Giki is pretty much fool-proof. Simply scan the barcode of your chosen product (you need to allow Giki access to your camera to do this!) and wait. If the product is already on the database then a product overview appears listing the badges awarded and giving you the option to learn more about the product and its rating or to see alternatives with a higher ethical rating.

There are currently 250,000 products on the database including food, drink, cosmetics and household products – including many natural and organic ones!

If your product isn’t listed then you are invited to add it to the library and the more people that do so, the more extensive the pool of data becomes. Simply press the Help Us Improve button and away you go. Adding a product is also easy; Giki offer a tick-box list of possible certifications and logos and also give you the option to add product details such as nutritional value and ingredients.

The great thing about Giki is that it enables consumers to take control and make positive life decisions. The badges make it easy to execute choices quickly, encouraging consumers to make small changes to their shopping which can not only benefit them but also the environment and producers – ultimately leading to a more sustainable level of consumption.

You can download the (free!) app from the App Store – Here

Currently Giki is only available on IOS devises however there are plans for android version, so watch this space…

 

Images: (1, 2-13) Giki Social Enterprise; (14, 15) LJS- OMUA

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