Buycott: An App For Conscientious Consumers

Do you ever wonder what kind of companies you’re really supporting with your everyday purchases? If you have strong feelings about particular issues, you may be surprised at which products (or their parent companies) stand in opposition to your beliefs. Luckily, there’s an easy app for your smart phone that you can use to determine whether or not a specific product falls in line with “campaigns” that you identify with – It’s called Buycott.


What’s A Buycott?

A “buycott” is the opposite of a boycott. With a buycott, the purpose is to spend money on and support products and initiatives that you believe in, rather than a boycott which is practiced by avoiding certain products or services that you do not agree with.


How Does It Work?

grocery store

Image provided by Flickr Creative Commons user Walter Watzpatzkowski

When you use the Buycott app, you can sign up to follow whatever user-generated campaigns that you identify with. You can also start your own campaign from the Buycott website, as long as you already have some background knowledge about what you’re trying to accomplish with the campaign and which companies to avoid and which ones to seek out to adhere to your campaign’s goals. Examples of existing campaigns on the app include, “Demand GMO Labeling,” “Companies Opposed to Equal Pay For Women,” “End Animal Testing,” and many more.

When you scan the bar-code on a product, Buycott draws from a pretty extensive database to tell you what the parent company of the product is and it also tells you if buying that product would conflict with the campaign goals that you’ve committed to. Buycott does admit that it doesn’t have all the information about every single product. If you scan a product that’s not in the database, you can enter in information that you find on the packaging to help update Buycott’s database. They also mention that the information you receive when you scan an item is not guaranteed to be 100 percent accurate all of the time, because the companies making theses products change every day.


Learn More About The Products You Buy

Buycott is fairly easy and user-friendly. Use it to find out if your favorite craft beer is genuinely “craft” or if it’s actually made by Anheuser Busch, or to see if the breakfast cereal that you buy is connected with a company that doesn’t pay U.S. taxes. You’ll likely be surprised over what you find. One of the most surprising scans that I’ve done with this app revealed that the Adams natural peanut butter that I buy is actually made by Smuckers and that buying this particular PB conflicts with some of my campaign commitments – definitely something that I would not have known about otherwise. The Buycott app is available for both iPhone and Android.



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