Mapping the good: new tech tracks where socially responsible consumers spend their dollars

Many studies have proven that consumers care more than ever about a brand’s social responsibility when shopping, but businesses are still tentative over whether being sustainable has monetary gain. Conscious Consumers wants to show businesses how highly shoppers value ethical companies with the Good Spend Counter.

The Good Spend Counter is a way for consumers to show the causes they support through both an app and a website.

Conscious Consumers founder Ben Gleisner describes it as a social networking site for socially and environmentally responsible shoppers.

“Instead of scrolling food on Instagram and baby photos on Facebook, you’ll scroll through great stories about businesses near you that have changed their practices and you’ll get personalised rewards,” Gleisner says.

“It’s a retail experience that isn’t out there.”

Retailers can use the Good Spend Counter to identify causes that their customers care about.

They can also access solid data on whether becoming more sustainable (like a café deciding to use free range eggs and bacon) brings more customers, or makes their current ones more loyal.

If businesses have sustainable certifications they’re proud of, they can also market themselves to the Good Spend Counter users on that point of difference.

How the platform works is as follows: consumers identify the issues they care about, register an eftpos or credit card and then the Good Spend Counter tracks where their dollars are spent.

The Good Counter gathers data about where they shop or eat, and how their behaviour affects their spending.

A 2014 Colmar Brunton survey found 90 percent of people want to buy ethically and socially responsible products, but Gleisner says businesses want to see more spending proof.

“At the moment businesses are a little bit unsure about whether there’s any value in being sustainably minded,” Gleisner says.

“The consumer behaviour is already there, we just want to make it visible. If businesses knew how much consumers were spending with those values in mind, the businesses would do a lot more.”

He says the Good Spend Counter will show businesses the monetary value in being sustainable.

“We’ll be able to say to businesses, ‘At this very moment in time, this is what people are caring about, this is what people are spending and this is how they behave while spending. Will they go down to the road to a new café? What gets people to change their behaviour?’”

The Good Spend Counter is focused on the hospitality sector for now, but is planning on expanding into retail next year if all goes to plan.

To get to the next stage of development – and the retail sector – the social enterprise needs Kiwis to help bankroll the idea via Pledge Me.

Conscious Consumer’s target to hit is $75,000 and $33,160 has been raised so far.

There’s just under two weeks left to go. Check out the Pledge Me here.

  • Conscious Consumers is a registered charity that’s based in Wellington.
  • It was first created in 2010, but soft-launched the Good Spend Counter very recently.
  • There are now over 300 businesses and 40,000 consumers using the Good Spend Counter app and connecting on social media.
  • Customer research has already made businesses change for the better.
  • ​Fifty hospitality businesses have begun recycling and composting due to customers’ values and where their dollars were being spent.
  • This story originally appeared on The Register

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