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Giki: The App That Helps You Understand The Impacts Behind The Products You Buy

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Are your ethics getting in the way of your shopping? Trying to buy more sustainable and ethical products can be a minefield. Enter Giki … a new app to help us understand the impacts behind the products we buy.

Giki is a social enterprise with a clear social and environmental mission. The app was launched in spring 2018 to encourage sustainable consumption by inspiring people to make small, regular changes in their shopping, which are good for them, better for the environment and fairer to others.

So far, Giki has rated over 250,000 products against 13 badges to help you decide whether a product fits with what matters to you.

Giki has set up an independent Advisory Board that meets quarterly to review how badges are awarded and to review feedback from companies and users. The Board is made up of experts in sustainability, nutrition, worker rights, certification and supply chains and includes people with experience at both NGOs and companies. Current representatives include members from WWF, Oxfam and CDP.

Whatever your priorities (eating healthily, avoiding toxic chemicals, animal welfare, climate change, or buying local etc), Giki will help you understand the true impacts of products you may consider buying.

Giki Badges

The latest badge added to the app is Sustainable Palm Oil, a hot topic right now and a complicated issue which can leave us consumers completely clueless. After downloading Giki, we scanned a box of Jaffa Cakes as a trial and were surprised to find they contain sustainable palm oil (the packaging made no mention of this). So I contacted Giki and asked for clarification on how they rated their products.

Here was the response from Maxine van Bommel, researcher at Giki on how the Sustainable Palm Oil badge is awarded:

“There are 250 different terms for palm oil and we search for those in the ingredients list. We then score each product based on our criteria for sustainable palm oil. You can find our criteria here.

We also carried out extensive research about sustainable palm oil, looking across a wide range of products from shampoos and shower gels to bread, butter and chocolates.

A quick dig into Jaffa Cakes specifically tells me that more than half of Jaffa Cakes contain Palm Oil, and a large proportion of that is sustainable. Sustainable palm oil brands include McVities, Bahlsen and Sainsbury’s. However, it must be noted that both McVities and Sainsbury’s also have Jaffa Cakes without palm oil – so it really depends on the product – which is what makes the app so useful.”

Indeed, while I always try to buy products from brands that fit our personal ethics, I certainly do not have the time to assess every product in my shopping trolley.

Giki is easy to use. Simply scan the barcodes and see which badges your selected products have been awarded. Each badge has detailed information on why it was awarded or not. If you are disappointed that your favourite products are not as good as you thought, Giki also suggests better options with higher or equal ratings.

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I have found Giki very useful so far, especially when staring at supermarket shelves wondering which product is best. The alternative function has also proved really handy, as when I was not satisfied with the product I picked, I was able to quickly find a suitable replacement saving me time and effort. Success!

Suitable for both iPhone and android devices, Giki is free to download from the App Store or Google Play. Find more information here.


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