goodmapp - A Movement for Good
Posted on January 07 2016
We interviewed founder, Laura Spanjer, about the goodmapp app to support and raise awareness of fair and sustainable businesses. Needless to say, we thrilled to be a part of this movement.
- What is goodmapp?
goodmapp is an app and a movement to support fair and sustainable business. With goodmapp we want to raise awareness and offer consumers an alternative of good products. When you are searching for a product or store concept, the ‘good map’ will show you where to find it close to your GPS based location and online. Are you walking in the city looking for sustainable, ethical coffee? Search for coffee and goodmapp shows you where you can find coffee made the good way. Furthermore, the app will include features such as reviews and price alerts for discounts.
With goodmapp we want to commit to a fair and sustainable world and to help out social enterprises, nice initiatives and local communities by making them more visible and easier to find.
- What inspired you to set it up?
It started with a photograph at the World Press Photo of two people that died among many others during the collapsing of a textile fabric in Bangladesh in 2013 (“Rana Plaza”). That made a great impact on me, I delved into this topic and I wanted to do something. However, I had no clue what I could do to make a difference on a large scale. I got myself into reading about social entrepreneurship and started a blog, Connecting Good Ideas. I interviewed entrepreneurs and startups – e.g. Phonebloks, Bea Johnson and the Plastic Bank – who are showing a genuine effort and engaging themselves to challenge global issues, such as poverty and (plastic) waste. When I was looking for good products and experienced some difficulties, I wanted to make this easier and more convenient for myself and for everyone else.
- What are the criteria for companies featuring on goodmapp?
Several research has shown that due to the large amount of certifications, consumers do not know anymore whether they can truly rely on them or not. goodmapp has to find another way in order to be credible. We don’t have specific criteria yet, but in general all the companies that are producing in a more sustainable and fair way compared to their competition in that segment of products, can potentially be shown in the map. In the app it will also be visible to what extent companies are fair and sustainable on a certain scale of measurement.
- How will visitors the site benefit from goodmapp?
Fair, sustainable products are generally healthier, have a better quality and last longer: consider for instance organic food, clean technologies and the difference in quality between clothing made in fast fashion or handmade items. Besides saving money you will also save time since you don’t need to buy that many products anymore.
Furthermore, you contribute to a better world. Nowadays everyone is busy with their own stuff. This individualism is not a bad thing, however we forget that while we satisfy our own needs, people all over the world are suffering and often these two are linked to one another. At the same time most of us care and don’t want this to happen, but we don’t know how we can make a difference. goodmapp believes that we as consumers are exactly the ones that can make the difference by our change of products.
- What industries does goodmapp focus on and do you anticipate expanding this to cover more?
goodmapp includes all kind of products: foremost fashion, food and cosmetics but also furniture, technologies and perhaps even clean energy.
- Do you think there is growing awareness by consumers to ethics, the environment and sustainability?
I do believe that in general the awareness is growing, probably mostly because topics regarding sustainability and ethics revolving around business, such as forced labour and renewable energies, are more displayed and discussed in the (social) media. Sometimes also because companies themselves become more transparent about certain affairs. Furthermore, I think as well because of the current global pressing challenges such as climate change.
I believe that most people are to some extent aware of the fact that something has got to be ‘wrong’ when clothing is sold for very low prices – when it’s ‘too good to be true’, it often is. Surveys and research do also more and more indicate that customers like to switch to fair and sustainable products, for instance sustainable packaging.
- Do you think consumers are searching our ‘good' brands?
I believe some of them do and I think even more would like to, but that fair and sustainable shopping sounds ‘complicated’ and ‘expensive’. With goodmapp we want to make it as easy, normal and also as cheap as possible.
- In a world where cheap clothes are so abundant what do you think is needed to change consumers’ behaviour to buying ‘good’ over buying cheap?
We are living in a globalised world with globalised economies. However, I believe for many of us it is still not always clear to understand globalisation and certain relations between one and another. Labour conditions in a fabric in Bangladesh is not as ‘tangible’ and ‘visible’ for costumers in California; the destruction of the rainforest in South America with all its consequences is not as ‘visible’ to people in Europe: we don’t truly feel its impact here – yet. Furthermore, topics such as climate change, water scarcity, clean technologies and labour conditions are often very complex as they are. Let alone that everyone can understand how it works and how one event in North America relates to certain events in Asia. In other words: this globalised world has to become more visible, transparent, tangible and understandable. Where is your wooden table coming from? By whom is your smartphone made? Who is truly benefiting when you buy ethical coffee? Why is cutting rainforest having an impact in the whole world?
goodmapp wants to do that, to make more visible, transparent, tangible and understandable and we want to do that in a positive way. By emphasizing and showing where to find the fair and sustainable products.
- Do you think a celebrity endorsement could drive change in terms of consumer buying behaviour? If so, which celebrities do you think actively promote ‘good’ buying?
Celebrities are interpretable from person to person and also a snapshot. However, I definitely think it could help! For instance Hugh Jackman is doing a lot of great work in this area with the Laughing Man Foundation and if Elon Musk (technology) or Meryl Streep (fashion) for example would spread the word this could very well be an eye-opener for a group of people!
- How do you see goodmapp evolving over the next five years?
Currently, we test the app prototype and are we developing it into a beta version. Our goal is to do a crowd-funding by the end of 2016 and from there on spread the word. Let’s say the best would be in five years that through goodmapp’s easy-to-pin approach consumers worldwide are effectively inspired to purchase fair, eco-friendly and sustainable products.