How Ethically Sourced Are Your Favorite Stores? This App Will Tell You

Photo: Courtesy of Good On You.
Update: Good On You, an app that lets you parse through ethical sourcing intel for thousands of fashion brands, is now available stateside. It originated in Oz in late 2015 and has amassed 35,000 users in Australia and New Zealand since inception; it just launched in the U.S. and Canada this month, with plenty of further expansion plans in store. "We are always adding more brands, and improving on features like displaying ethical retailers close by, improving personalization, and adding ratings for cosmetics and personal care products," Good On You's founder, Sandra Capponi, told Refinery29.
The app uses a five-star rating system with the following categories to assess the sourcing practices of each retailer or brand: "We Avoid," "Not Good Enough," "It’s A Start," "Good," and "Great." Eventually, the hope is that Good On You will be available globally; the app is about to open a formal seed-round of investment to help fast-track its expansion plans. So, if you're not in Oz or (most of) North America, you should hopefully soon be able to get ahold of Good On You to better scrutinize the labels hanging in your closet. You can download the app here.
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This story was originally published on November 30, 2015.
Thanks to new app Good On You, shopping ethically just got a lot easier Down Under. The Australian app launched on November 16 with the ethical-sourcing lowdown on 3,000 fashion brands available in 100 top Australian shopping malls as well as 100 online-only labels. Users can figure out which labels align with their values based on the app's ratings, regarding labor, environment, and animal protection of each particular brand.
The app, which initially began in July as a crowdfunding project, is run by a team of five staffers along with scores of volunteers across all fields. It aims to "translate everyday shoppers’ desire for a better world into real incentives for brands to address the issues their customers care about," Gordon Renouf, Good On You's CEO, told Refinery29. Users can contact brands through the app to ask a question, commend them for being extremely eco-conscious, or to air concerns about subpar labor practices.
The ratings are compiled from information provided by the brands themselves "that investment analysts would regard as likely to be credible," along with publicly available information, including scorecards and certification bodies, Renouf says. In addition to searching for specific brands, Good On You can help users figure out the most ethically sourced brand for a particular product (i.e., comparing how animal-friendly a slew of denim brands are). Users can also set preferences to filter results by rating category, refining each of the three categories — environment, animal protection, and labor rights — on a spectrum from "less important" to "very important."
Photo: Courtesy of Good On You.
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Thus far, most feedback from brands has been positive, Renouf says — especially from those that are trying to clean up their act in terms of all or some of the ratings metrics. And the less-than-favorable feedback is often a helpful wake-up call for a brand to communicate its better practices more loudly: "When brands have raised an issue, it's usually because they have sustainability policies in place that they don’t tell their customers," Renouf says. "In a world that demands transparency, that’s just not good enough. Some of those brands are now working on improving their disclosures."
Although Good On You is only available in Oz at the moment, there are plans to expand its reach soon: "We’ve been approached by users all around the world, from Ireland to New Zealand, asking when the app will be available in their country," says Renouf. The company has been in talks with possible U.S. investors and partners and a stateside iteration of the app could launch within a few months "with the right funding in place," Renouf says. "The whole point is to make ethical shopping easier and more fun.”