With a busy week behind you and the weekend within reach, there’s no shame in taking things a bit easy on Friday afternoon. With this in mind, every Friday TriplePundit will give you a fun, easy read on a topic you care about. So, take a break from those endless email threads, and spend five minutes catching up on the latest trends in sustainability and business.
Whether you’re on iOS or Android, your app store is likely crowded with “green” applications, each claiming to be next big thing. Sounds great and all, but on closer examination most of these apps receive dismal reviews and often aren’t worth the download space. To save you some time scouring the app store, this week 3p rounded up seven apps that are actually useful for reducing environmental impact and spending your dollar where it counts.
In a crowd of carbon footprint trackers, GiveO2 stands out. Debuted at SXSW 2013, this bilingual app for iOs and Android allows users to easily monitor the carbon footprint of their daily commutes — whether it’s by car, bike, public transit or a combination of the three. The app works with your GPS so you don’t have to worry about typing in miles manually, and, miraculously, it also promises not to drain your battery life.
Users can also snag rewards and discounts at participating retailers for shrinking their footprints, or select from a pool of sustainable projects around the world to offset transportation-related emissions — putting sustainable purchasing power in the palm of their hands.
Grand prize winner of the DOE’s Apps for Energy challenge in 2012, Leafully goes beyond most energy trackers by connecting directly a user’s local utility, automatically monitoring energy consumption, and notifying the user when they consume more energy than normal. Energy efficiency is the nation’s cheapest energy source, proven once again by an April report from the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE), and helping users cut back will not only reduce peak-hour burdens for local utility companies but also ensure lower carbon emissions for all.
GoodGuide makes it easy to find safe, ethical and environmentally-friendly products while on-the-go. Powered by the GoodGuide.com database, the app provides health, environmental and social performance ratings for more than 120,000 food, personal care and household products.
Users can also customize the app by selecting issues they care about most, such as the environment, animal welfare or organic certification, and see how products perform on their preferences — a win not only for consumers but for any company trying to draw attention to its latest sustainable offering. The app has been so successful that the GoodGuide team hooked up with Target last fall to rate thousands of products on the retail giant’s shelves and develop an industry standard that allows consumers to make informed purchasing decisions.
This top-rated app is bad news for pamphlet pushers but good news for socially responsible businesses that moved away from junk mail torture ages ago. The app not only helps save trees, but also puts control back in the hands of the consumer — further underscoring the need for companies to adopt new, clever advertising tactics that actually resonate with the conscious consumer.
5. Seafood Watch
The ocean covers 71 percent of the Earth’s surface and contains 97 percent of its water, yet a growing number of factors continue to threaten the health of our oceans and, by extension, the sustainable future of our planet. Overfishing is one key concern, and it can be difficult for consumers to engage in this area and determine how best to take action.
Enter Seafood Watch, a top-rated app from Monterey Bay Aquarium that allows consumers to choose ocean-friendly seafood at their favorite restaurants and stores — and helps sustainable brands, eateries and distributors stand out.
Hate gridlock? So do we. It pollutes the air, diminishes productivity and, in some cases, can even bring entire cities to a screeching halt. So, if you haven’t heard about Waze — the crowdsourced solution to spending two hours on I-95 — it’s time to get with the program.
Originally developed in Israel and acquired by Google for an astonishing $1.1 billion last June, Waze is the world’s largest community-based traffic app that lets users share real-time traffic and road information with other drivers in their area, saving everyone time, gas money and carbon emissions on their daily commute.
7. Carma Carpooling
Carma Carpooling from Avego is the No. 1 carpooling verification app in the U.S. and eight other countries around the world. By making it easy to connect with neighbors looking for a ride, Carma Carpooling helps commuters reduce both carbon emissions and urban gridlock.
Image courtesy of GiveO2
Based in Philadelphia, Mary Mazzoni is an editor at TriplePundit. She is also a freelance journalist who frequently writes about sustainability, corporate social responsibility and clean tech. Her work has appeared on the Huffington Post, Sustainable Brands, Earth911 and The Daily Meal. You can follow her on Twitter @mary_mazzoni.