Sustainable Consumption Action Network (GoodGuide)

University of California - Berkeley, 2006 - $44,150

This team will further develop and test the Sustainable Consumption Action Network (SCAN), a mobile technology that enables shoppers to enter the barcode of a product on their cell phone and bring up information on the social and environmental impacts of the product and the company that makes it. The display is simple, featuring scores from 0-10 for health, environmental, and social performance, as well as an overall rating. Consumers can then click through to see more detailed analyses, share ratings with friends or families, and directly email or SMS complaints or questions to the company that makes the product. In addition to the version of SCAN aimed at US consumers, the team is also developing a wiki-like information management system that will allow workers, farmers, and consumers in developing countries to access and contribute information on company conditions and practices.

Summer 2009 update: This team took their prototype and ultimately hired a team of engineers from Google, Apple, Ebay, and Amazon, to develop their tools further and get them out to the consumer. In Fall 2007 the project spun-off the UC Berkeley campus, licensed some of their IP, created a For Benefit corporate company and raised $3.6 million. GoodGuide has several million users so far. In March 2009 GoodGuide was featured in a TIME magazine article entitled “10 Ideas Changing the World Right Now” and continues to attract media attention.