ICT in the Environment: The Sustainable Shopper

ICT services impact our every day lives from how we work, to how we travel to how we make purchasing decisions for our daily needs. In this video series, I examine all of these elements from inside executive offices, to transportation systems and even teleworking in my own home.

In the 5th episode of this video series, I focus on the sustainable shopper.  I joined Harriet Hentges, VP Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability at Ahold USA Inc., (owner of Giant), at a local Giant supermarket in Bethesda MD, to explore the potential for applications to help a shopper with a product decision at the point of purchase.


ICT in the Environment: The Sustainable Shopper from Kevin Moss on Vimeo.

ICT in the Environment: The Sustainable Shopper from Kevin Moss on Vimeo.

The mobile application we looked at, The Good Guide, provides information on the health, environmental and ethical attributes of a product.  The consumer can customize the application to provide an aggregate score for a product based on your own priorities. In theory, the application creates the potential for millions of consumers to make informed choices and give the companies that serve them the incentive needed to continually improve the sustainability attributes of products.

But I must admit to being skeptical about the concept of the consumer as the major driver for sustainability change. The application is enticing for a CR practitioner and it’s a delight to scan a product and see its credentials pop up on your screen.   But I don’t see myself walking around the supermarket scanning each product and interpreting the results before I buy it.

Instead, as you will see in the video, although I am an ICT guy, I think trusted labels, either on the shelf, or on the product itself, are going to be the way interested consumers make these decisions.

Now back at home on the other hand, I had a lot of fun scanning everything in the pantry and the laundry room and deciding if I would buy that product next time….

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    […] and machines. This is achieved through some combination of providing information (for example The Good Guide app) and providing control (such as home monitoring systems that let you switch off the bedroom […]