Innovation That Matters

Browser extension

Browser extension reveals manufacturers' ethics

Work & Lifestyle

New browser extension uses algorithms to mine publicly available sources to keep users informed about manufacturers’ ethical practices.

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While many companies are beginning to show increased transparency and willingness to educate consumers about their purchasing choices, such as showing sustainability-positive infographics on their packaging, for example, researching every company’s ethical practices can be exhausting, so what if that only required downloading a browser extension?

Impakt is a plugin for chrome and firefox that enables users who wish to ‘vote with their wallet’ on industry practices to make informed choices without having to do the research. Impakt is developing algorithms that will aggregate publicly available information on companies’ business practices, which will include diverse information such as whether or not their manufacturing impacts forest degradation, the level of care employees receive or which political campaigns they lend their financial support to. The extension will be particularly effective in online marketplaces such as Amazon, where users are browsing multiple options for the same basic product, so that if a user is looking for sneakers Impakt will automatically flag up if the company uses child labor and will offer a list of other, similar sneakers from more ethical companies as alternatives. Users will be able to use a variety of filters so that Impakt focuses on practices that users care most about, whether that’s climate impact or employee diversity, with Impakt’s premium service available for a monthly subscription fee of USD 1. Impakt is currently seeking crowdfunding on Kickstarter.

With consumers spending so much time online, browser extensions are proving a useful tool way for users to direct themselves towards services they care about, whether that’s as a means to make simple charitable donations to causes they read about or to confuse targeted advertising, so what other plugins could we see users opting for?



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