Friends often ask me where to go for ethical jeans/workwear/shoes etc and I’ve had my online directory for years signposting consumers to ethical and sustainable brands. Now though, it seems my work here is done because I’ve recently learnt about a great new app that acts as an ethical shopping assistant – meet Balu.
Balu pops up when its user is shopping online and presents ethical alternatives to the products they’re searching for. You can download it on Google Chrome and I’ve been playing with it for a couple of weeks now. For example, if I head to ASOS dresses page, Balu immediately drops down from the Google toolbar with 21 ethical alternatives from the likes of Braintree Clothing, People Tree and Kuyichi (I have in actual fact recently bought two gorgeous new dresses from Nomads!). It’s a brilliant way to learn about the range of ethical options out there and cheeky reminder if you get carried away Christmas shopping. The app is completely free to use and new items are being added every day so it’s only going to get better and better.
I asked the team why they felt the need to create Balu and they said:
“Though many people want to shop in a way that doesn’t harm people or planet, finding sustainable and ethical products still takes extra effort over and above “normal” online shopping. When we are required to look beyond mass marketing and leading high street brands, and cannot rely on the most powerful search engines and online stores that we’re most used to, this acts as a barrier to more ethical habits.
Balu changes this by requiring that you change nothing: while you shop like you always have, using the same tools, shops and searches that you’ve always used, Balu shows you ethical alternatives. It acts as an ethical filter over the sometimes damaging retail industry, taking the best that the internet has to offer and making it better.”
The beta release of Balu for Chrome is now live and the team are working on expanding Balu’s reach to more consumers by releasing Firefox and Safari versions, as well as making it mobile compatible. Why not give it a try?