We’re all more conscientious about the purchases we make as consumers now. Whether it’s our personal brand identification as vegans, or gluten-free, or organic food advocates, we think about where our food comes from before we buy it, bring it home, consume it, and process its caloric energy to maintain human existence. Maybe we don’t want to purchase clothing manufactured in sweatshops, or use products that are subsidiaries of multi-national conglomerates whose politics we oppose, like conservative billionaire oligarchs and Buzzfeed content generators Koch Industries, or earth-raping, poison-peddlers Monsanto. Until now you would have to do a lot of research to figure out where each and every product on the shelf actually comes from, but a new app called Buycott does the work for us. By scanning the barcode on any product, the app will trace its corporate provenance. Think of it like your most condescending and prolific link-posting hippie friend on Facebook that you get to carry around in your pocket.
As Forbes reports:
Once you’ve scanned an item, Buycott will show you its corporate family tree on your phone screen. Scan a box of Splenda sweetener, for instance, and you’ll see its parent, McNeil Nutritionals, is a subsidiary ofJohnson & Johnson.
Even more impressively, you can join user-created campaigns to boycott business practices that violate your principles rather than single companies. One of these campaigns, Demand GMO Labeling, will scan your box of cereal and tell you if it was made by one of the 36 corporations that donated more than $150,000 to oppose the mandatory labeling of genetically modified food.
Buycott themselves explain further:
A buycott is the opposite of a boycott. Buycott helps you to organize your everyday consumer spending so that it reflects your principles.
Example: During the SOPA/PIPA debate in 2012, a number of companies pushed to pass legislation that reduced online freedom of expression, while other companies fought hard to oppose the legislation. With Buycott, a campaign can be quickly created around a cause, with the goal of targeting companies with a boycott unless they change their position, or buycotting a company to show your support.
When you use Buycott to scan a product, it will look up the product, determine what brand it belongs to, and figure out what company owns that brand (and who owns that company, ad infinitum). It will then cross-check the product owners against the companies and brands included in the campaigns you’ve joined, in order to tell you if the scanned product conflicts with one of your campaign commitments.
Sounds like a thoughtful consumer’s dream come true, right? Being able to avoid purchases that directly support the huge companies that dominate the marketplace, and have reduced the world into a dystopian corporatocracy, is something that most of us can get behind, and if this app takes off, we surely will. And then about a month or so later we’ll all die from starvation and/or exposure to the elements, because we literally cannot purchase a single item of food or clothing available to us with a clear conscience again. Talk about a killer app, literally.