Ethics go into a barcodeJuly 2010
A new mobile phone application is allowing consumers to find out the CSR credentials of a firm by scanning the barcodes of products as they shop.
Barcoo, which is compatible with a range of handsets including many Nokia and Sony Ericsson mobiles, scans products using a phone's camera, and provides immediate information on price, nutrition and sustainability.
The information is presented in the form of a 'traffic light' system across various categories, meaning a company can be given a green light for its carbon footprint, but a red light for how it treats its staff.
Data is assembled from a number of sources, including company statements, studies and reports, and user feedback.
Consumer watchdogs have praised Barcoo for encouraging transparency. Creator of the product Benjamin Thym said: 'Our mission is to give transparency to consumers and to allow them to be critical while they are shopping.'
Many companies have been critical of Barcoo, however. Some have questioned the credibility of the information provided, while others are reportedly looking into ways of jamming the use of the application on products.
The application is currently only available in German, but the company plans to launch it in the UK and France later this year.
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