This Machine Learning Browser Extension Helps You Shop Sustainable Alternatives Online

  •  
  •  
  •  
  • 1
  •  
  •  
  •  
    1
    Share

4 Mins Read

A new browser extension has just launched to help consumers get their online shopping fix sustainably. Called Beagle Button, the machine learning-enabled tool detects when a user is shopping online, then automatically finds an eco-friendly match within its database of approved products. 

Beagle Button is the latest digital tool that sustainable shoppers have in their arsenal. It’s a browser extension that gives users a planet-friendly and ethical alternative to products they’re looking at online. Beta-launched back in 2020, the platform is now raising fresh funds on a crowdfunding campaign on Seedrs—and it’s so popular that over £360,000 has been invested, far exceeding its initial target of £250,000. 

How Beagle works

The button works just like any extension that runs on your internet browser. It’s not a separate app that users have to download and shop directly from, but runs whenever users land on an online shopping site. 

Then, using its proprietary machine learning algorithm, Beagle will automatically present a sustainable, cruelty-free and ethical alternative as people browse online. It basically makes it effortless for consumers to find better products, cutting out the time people might have to spend searching for a greener substitute. 

Beagle’s approved list of products are evaluated according to five criteria, which include lower emissions, lower waste, less harmful toxic chemicals, worker’s rights and animal welfare. 

Within the extension, people can even select which criteria they prioritise the most, according to their own values. For example, if someone is most interested in going plastic-free or vegan, they can tick what “Better” means to them on Beagle, so that the algorithm will put these suggestions at the top of their list. Other priorities include cruelty-free, carbon-neutral or items from brands that are minority-owned and diverse. 

Read: Check out these 6 Hong Kong-based apps that will help you live greener

Diverting £10 billion per year towards eco-purchases

Beagle says that the latest fundraising will help the platform grow even more and divert people’s wallets towards eco-friendly products. According to the firm, it is set to shift as much as £10 billion every single year towards sustainable items by 2025. Around a fifth of that amount—£1.9 billion—will be turned away from e-commerce giant Amazon. 

Speaking about the platform’s success so far with its impact and crowdfunding campaign, co-founder and CEO Daniel Helmsley said: “The click throughs, the conversions, as well as the consumer and brand feedback has been fantastic. It just goes to show that the demand for sustainable shopping really is upon us.”

“We are delighted to see such enthusiasm for the product so early on. It took just one day for us to hit our target, and we’re open for investment for the rest of the month. The more we raise at this point, the more people we can reach and the faster and larger impact we can have. We know from all the climate data that time is of the essence, so that is driving our urgency to expand as quickly as possible,” Helmsley added. 

The CEO started Beagle back in 2019 with co-founder and creative director Tara Button, who shared that the ease of Beagle is a big part of its ability to create impact. “Most consumers care about the environment, but it’s hard for people to hold a long-term environmental crisis in mind while doing back-to-school shopping or while looking for essential items.”

“With the Beagle Button, the consumer only has to care once, download a free shopping tool and from then on, we care for you and nudge you with friendly reminders towards the more ethical, sustainable choices,” Button explained. 

Read: Consumers want climate apps to help them live sustainably, poll shows

Sustainable online tools

New research shows that while e-commerce is not slowing down anytime soon, consumers are becoming more aware of the footprint of their online purchases and scrutinising the brands they choose. That’s why more digital tools like Beagle Button are now available to help fill the need. 

Other online tools that offer similar services include Finch, which is a browser extension that ranks the eco-friendliness of products on major e-commerce sites like Amazon. Currently available for shoppers based in the US, the tool essentially decodes the claims that each brand makes, simplifies information such as ingredients as well as user feedback, and then gives a 1-10 rating for how planet-friendly the item is.

EcoCart doesn’t offer sustainable suggestions, but instead helps online shoppers offset the footprint of their purchases and deliveries. It calculates the emissions of each unique order and offsets it by donating to a vetted group of carbon offsetting projects. And it doesn’t even cost the buyer a dime, with businesses being the ones who sign up to add the function to their site. More than 10,000 stores are signed up, such as Vans, Levi’s, Footlocker and Sephora.


Lead image courtesy of Unsplash, all other images courtesy of Beagle Button.


  •  
  •  
  •  
  • 1
  •  
  •  
  •  
    1
    Share
You might also like