Co-op joins ethical business app network

Co-op has become the first large UK retailer to join CoGo – an app which lets users find sustainable and ethical businesses near them or online.

The technology has been developed to connect businesses and consumers for the good of people and the planet, according to the CoGo website.

CoGo is free to download and available for all smartphone users, covering iOS and Android operating systems.

“Whether you’re looking for a vegan bite, a sustainable hairdresser or your local Co-op, you’ll find it on the app,” the CoGo website states.

Users can select the ethical and sustainable issues that matter to them most – it might be using eco-packaging or reducing greenhouse emissions – and find the organisations that best match these preferences.

Businesses joining the CoGo network are accredited with either operational or product badges. Those gaining the former accreditation will have proved they have sustainable business operations such as supply chain visibility or recycling processes, while the latter badges relate to products offered by a business such as Fair Trade or cruelty-free items.

Each badge has specific standards that must be complied with, and CoGo reappraises businesses every two years to ensure on-going compliance.

Another technology feature of CoGo sees the app link a customer’s ethical preferences to their payment cards, which if they choose to can send anonymous signals to businesses every time they shop. CoGo said this will allow consumers to gain access to information showing how their spending is contributing to the good of society.

Other retailers and consumer-facing businesses on the CoGo network include Mexican food chain Wahaca, fashion business Elvis & Kresse, and London Kings Cross café and restaurant, Caravan.

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