Most of us want to be conscious consumers, but it’s a pretty difficult task in practice. From the thousands of products available, whether it be food or beauty and skincare, it takes time and effort to properly research and decipher those that have the smallest impact on the planet, animals and people. This was what inspired Adriane Marie to create HEALabel.
Having felt frustrated at the lack of accessible information for consumers, Los Angeles-based vegan web and app creator Marie took to developing a digital tool that would help many others like herself. Launched earlier this month, the free mobile app, called HEALabel – short for Health, Environment, Animals, Labourers – is designed to make conscious consumerism as easy as possible.
The way the app works is pretty straightforward, with users able to quickly search for food ingredients, clothing materials and other keywords that are printed on labels before buying them. It then displays traffic light snapshots with either green, yellow or red indicators to show whether the item in question has a positive, moderate or negative impact on the health, environment, animals or labourers.
“The idea began as a frustrated shopper, wanting to make better choices for myself, animals and the planet but not knowing the true implications of what I was buying,” explained Marie.
“I’d be at the store and had questions about products but standing in an aisle googling answers was time consuming. I was surprised and disappointed to discover there actually wasn’t an app for that.”
I’d be at the store and had questions about products but standing in an aisle googling answers was time consuming.Adriane Marie, Founder, HEALabel
Marie’s exasperation at the difficulty of making sure all her purchases were truly ethical and sustainable is no doubt a sentiment shared by many – primarily millennials and Gen Zs, who are willing to spend more on value-led brands and eco-friendly goods more than ever before.
In fact, recent studies have suggested that the majority of consumers are actively now looking for digital tools to assist them in making climate-friendly buying decisions.
Aside from providing a broad traffic light overview of the impact of a product, users can also use HEALabel to tap into the snapshot of a certain ingredient to find out more in-depth details, such as food allergens like gluten, or its alkalinity or acidity pH. The water, carbon footprint and overall sustainability of an item can also be accessed.
Plant-based food items, for instance, will tend to showcase a lower carbon and water footprint, given that it does not contain any animal-based ingredients. Livestock farming not only drives 18% of global greenhouse gas emissions, but also contributes to water pollution, soil erosion and fuels deforestation, not to mention enormous harm to the welfare of animals.
Clothing, cosmetics, skincare and other personal care products, as well as household items like dish soap or cleaners can also be entered into the app, whose glossary is “ever-expanding”.
Consumers are the ones that ultimately raise industry standards and this app gives you that power. You should never settle on buying anything that is misleading or compromises your ethics.Adriane Marie, Founder, HEALabel
Marie says that the idea is to provide a platform where information about brands from all categories can be found within minutes, and even whether a parent company of a certain label uses problematic ingredients or aren’t certified cruelty-free.
Empowered with access to this information, the app then gives users the choice to contact companies at a click of a button. It shows the phone details or email address that consumers can contact to have additional questions answered, or to voice their concerns directly to brands to push for greater transparency or change.
“Consumers are the ones that ultimately raise industry standards and this app gives you that power,” said Marie. “You should never settle on buying anything that is misleading or compromises your ethics.”
“Every time you spend money you vote on what you wish to see more of in the world,” she added, referencing the famous slogan popularised by sustainable foods systems pioneer Anna Lappé. “Now, you can be absolutely sure it’s something you fully support.”
Read about all the newest sustainability apps here.
Lead image designed by Green Queen Media / courtesy of HEALabel.