Wednesday, May 15, 2013

This new app tells you how to avoid enriching the Koch brothers

A new smartphone app lets you find out whether a noxious billionaire is behind a product in your shopping cart.  You simply swipe your phone against the barcode to find out that, say, the Stainmaster carpet you're thinking of buying is indirectly helping the  Benedict Arnold Koch brothers.  You can then decide to buy a different brand from a company owned by a billionaire who doesn't offend you.

Forbes reports,
You can scan the barcode on any product and the free app will trace its ownership all the way to its top corporate parent company, including conglomerates like Koch Industries. 
Once you’ve scanned an item, Buycott will show you its corporate family tree on your phone screen. Scan a box of Splenda sweetener, for instance, and you’ll see its parent, McNeil Nutritionals, is a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson
Even more impressively, you can join user-created campaigns to boycott business practices that violate your principles rather than single companies. One of these campaigns, Demand GMO Labeling, will scan your box of cereal and tell you if it was made by one of the 36 corporations that donated more than $150,000 to oppose the mandatory labeling of genetically modified food. 
Deciding to add that campaign to your Buycott app might make buying your breakfast nearly impossible, as that list includes not just headline grabbers like agricultural giant Monsanto but just about every big consumer company with a presence in the supermarket aisle: Coca-Cola, Nestle, Kraft, Heinz, Kellogg’s, Unilever and more.
It's not just breakfast that the Buycott app will make impossible. Forbes also reports on the many, many products that enrich billionaires, from Red Bull to Cablevision.

Read more here.