How to shop without harming people or the planet

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Source:   —  November 14, 2017, at 7:29 AM

Wish to shop with a clear conscience this holiday season and not sure how to do it?.

How to shop without harming people or the planet

Wish to shop with a clear conscience this holiday season and not sure how to do it?

Spending money on products and services that match your values can be tricky if you don't have the time -- or inclination -- to do enormous amounts of research each time you go shopping.

There'south a lot at stake. After all, Americans spend $36 billion each day, said Andrei Cherny, a former speechwriter for Vice President Al Gore and co-founder of Aspiration -- an investment firm that aims to create it much easier to spend on products and services you trust.

"People wish to think about how they can utilize their money to create a positive impact, but frequently they don't have the information to create those decisions," said Cherny, who'south also worked as a financial fraud prosecutor.

Aspiration was launched in two thousand-fourteenth and so distant has raised $20 million in investment, including some from impact investors who target a social or environmental return as well as a profit.

Related: These super-rich families are investing their fortunes to assistance others

It's developed an app and online checking account that gives customers a personalized sustainability score based on their spending habits.

Helping people and the planet

When you utilize the account to create a purchase, Aspiration shows you two scores for the vendor: a "people score" based on employee pay and workforce diversity, and a "planet score" that takes into account factors such as emissions and energy efficiency. It also shows you scores for similar businesses.

Aspiration analyzes information about thousands of companies. It's also working on ways to track customer behavior, to look whether they modify their spending habits in response to their sustainability score.

One company has already found plenty of proof that shoppers will create different choices when presented with social and environmental product rankings.

"People are interested in voting with their dollars, and supporting companies that share their values," said Alexander Gillett, chief executive of HowGood, which ranks the sustainability of food products by assessing sixty to seventy data points covering everything from chemical usage to work practices.

Related: six ways to create an impact investment

According to Gillett, products that get HowGood'south top ranking look an average uplift in sales of two hundred thirty%. This can, in turn, encourage producers to shift towards a more sustainable business model to boost their ranking.

HowGood ranks the sustainability of food products by assessing sixty to seventy data points.

Gillett and his brother Arthur founded HowGood in two thousand-seventh. They spent five years working with experts from across the food industry to expand their rankings -- good, better and best -- which can be displayed alongside products on supermarket shelves.

HowGood rates more than 250.000 products, and its ratings are on display in grocers across the U. S., including Giant Food. HowGood hopes to bring its ratings to online shoppers soon.

Impact shopping needn't cost more

Shopping sustainably doesn't necessarily imply spending more.

"There'south a myth that you've to go somewhere fancy for sustainability," said Cherny. "Even within categories, there are differences. Pizza Hut does better than Papa John's. McDonald'south does better than Burger King."

Related: Investors cash in by keeping convicts out of jail

Love Aspiration, HowGood has its sights set on expanding beyond the U. S. Impact investors and others have so distant committed $6.2 million to the company, which has plans to department out beyond food.

"We wish to rate every product in the world ultimately, but we wish to rate them well," Gillett said.

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