Gordon Renouf’s new Ethical Consumers Australia has launched a crowdfunding campaign to create an app that helps people shop ethically.
Mr Renouf, chair of Good Environmental Choice on Thursday announced GECA would also head down a new path linked to consumption and supply chain issues.
Creators of the Good on You app hope it will become the go to service for millions of Australians.
The app will rate more than 1000 clothing, footwear and accessory brands based on their impact on people, the environment and animals. It will also map outlets so people can find retailers close by.
App users will be able to engage in “fashion activism” because the app will enable them to directly contact brands about their excellent or poor ethical ratings.
Mr Renouf, chief executive of the organisation said people were increasingly interested in where their money went.
“We want to help them choose brands that do good for our world,” Mr Renouf said.
“Customers can keep the industry on their toes by sending a message to designers and brands.
“They can say: “We love what you’re doing with organic cotton” or “until you provide living wages to your producers, I’ll be shopping elsewhere”.
“Fashion is self-expression, and it can be much more than just looking great. It can be an expression of our moral and ethical values via the products we buy.”
Good on You wants a minimum $15,000 through the crowdfunding campaign to finish making the app, but Mr Renouf said $30,000 would be ideal.
The Good on You team spent the past 12 months researching brands and developing a ratings system for the app. Members collaborated with other groups such as Baptist World Aid and Ethical Clothing Australia to collate information and develop ratings on brands ethical and sustainable practices.
They have investigated working conditions, child labour, wages, supply chains, environmental impacts and animal protection.
Mr Renouf told The Fifth Estate that it was difficult for consumers to find information about the brands they buy.
He said finding out the required ethical and sustainability features of a brand was not easy because brands did not always publicise their practices.
“Our brand ratings are not perfect but better than nothing,” Mr Renouf said.
“We also write to brands and ask for information.”
Mr Renouf, who is also a former director of campaigns at CHOICE and community lawyer, started Ethical Consumers Australia, which is the organisation running Good on You with the vision of making it easy for people to buy ethical products.
The organisation is a non-profit charity at the moment but Mr Renouf said he planned for it to become a financially sustainable social business. There were currently 3.5 full time equivalent staff and a number of volunteers.
If you wish to find out more about the Good on You app, visit the website.