How information can help consumers support the SDGs

Individuals are critical in driving the change towards better environmental and societal outcomes. In this blog Jo Hand, Co-founder of Giki, explains how their app makes it easy for consumers to make informed choices to help the UK achieve SDG12 on sustainable consumption and production.

Sustainable Development Goal 12 on sustainable consumption and production is one of the goals that affects us all directly. As individuals, our purchasing decisions are a critical part of driving any change towards better environmental and societal outcomes. Not only are people more interested in leading more sustainable lives but household expenditure is the largest component of the UK economy. We have the financial power to drive change towards SDG12 through our purchasing decisions.

Households spend an average of £58 every week on food and drink

With over 27 million households in the UK, that equates to over £1.5bn each week. 

This is why we set up Giki. We want to make it easy to buy sustainably. We now provide sustainability information on over 280,000 UK supermarket products covering thirteen areas including: carbon footprint, sustainable palm oil, responsible sourcing, animal welfare and nutrition. This information is delivered through our free mobile app, users just scan the barcode or search for the product. 

We’ve designed these in to our app so consumers can access simple, accessible and robust information. As a result, we’re helping consumers take action to deliver a number of SDG 12 targets:

Reducing chemical use in the home

Industry has a crucial role to play, but individuals also have a choice about what they buy. Do we need harmful chemicals like drain clearers in our homes or pesticides in our gardens? We can buy organic or greener household or personal care products which reduce chemical impacts in the environment, our own homes and our own bodies.

Reducing avoidable waste

Buying products with less or no packaging, or packaging that is recyclable isn’t always easy. The Giki app shows which supermarket packaging is recyclable. In 2019, we will create better packaging analysis to take this a step further to identify packaging which is not only re-usable, but also made in line with Plastic Pact commitments.

Making relevant information easily available  

Until we can make informed choices, it will be very difficult for even the most aware and conscious consumers to make sustainable choices. This is what Giki is set up to help with.

The simplicity in the information consumers can access through the app is possible because we have built a comprehensive supermarket product dataset which we analyse with a series of algorithms rating products in near real time. This covers both branded and own label goods including those of the UK’s biggest supermarkets. 

With clear information, sustainable informed choices become possible and empowering for us all. As demand grows, we hope companies will respond. 70% of Giki users polled are changing product choices as a result of transparent information. This shows, when it’s made easy, we can all make changes towards sustainable consumption and production.

Jo Hand is the Co-founder of Giki, a mobile app that informs you about the products you buy and the companies you buy them from.