How it works

Add Ethical Shopper to Chrome. Visit any brand’s website (e.g. zara.com) and click on the extension icon. You will see information on the brand’s social and environmental impact. The information is based on the Good On You ethical brand rating system. The system assesses more than a thousand brands on three main categories: People, Planet and Animals.

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People - Brand’s impact on workers across the supply chain. These include policies and practices on child labour, forced labour, worker safety, freedom of association (the right to join a union) and payment of a living wage. Also considered: brand’s supplier relationships and auditing practices.

Planet - Brand’s resource use and disposal, energy use and carbon emissions, impacts on water, as well as chemical use and disposal.

Animals - Brand’s use of fur, angora, down feather, shearling, karakul and exotic animal skin and hair. Also considered: wool use including ‘mulesing’ and whether and how the brand uses leather.

Ethical Shopper also displays the final rating assigned to a brand by Good On You (derived from an average of the scores for each of the three categories). Final ratings, from worst to best, are the following: We avoid (1/5), Not good enough (2/5), It’s a start (3/5), Good (4/5) and Great (5/5).

To read more about how Good On You rates brands visit goodonyou.eco/how-we-rate/.

Why I built Ethical Shopper

I discovered the Good On You rating system in a sustainability class at Tufts University. I immediately saw a huge potential in using this data to help online shoppers make ethical shopping choices. However, to achieve the goal, two problems would have to be overcome:

  1. Many shoppers do not know about Good On You.
  2. The minority that know about Good On You do not have a quick and easy way to access to the data. For example, before making a purchase on zara.com, a shopper has to visit directory.goodonyou.eco and look up ZARA to access the brand’s data. The process is slow, which can discourage some people.

A Chrome extension seemed like an ideal solution to both problems. My search for a similar tool on Chrome Web Store yielded no results so I decided to build one myself.

How I built Ethical Shopper

To build the extension, I needed to obtain data first. I was planning to use Scrapy, a web-crawling framework for Python, but I soon discovered that directory.goodonyou.eco was using JavaScript to dynamically load data. Therefore, to simplify the task I decided to use Selenium. I navigated the website with Selenium and parsed HTML with Beautiful Soup, a Python package for parsing HTML.

Selenium helped me to overcome the problem of scraping data on a page with “infinite scroll” (where more data is loaded as user reaches the bottom of the page). I scraped more than a thousand brand names and their corresponding urls (e.g. directory.goodonyou.eco/brand/zara : zara). Using this data, I scraped the individual brand pages. In the end, I had built a dictionary with brand names as keys and their corresponding data on sustainability as values.

Finally, I built the extension with JavaScript and UI with HTML/CSS. The whole project is publicly available on my GitHub: bakartavadze/ethicalshopper.info

Thanks for reading! Follow me on Twitter @aragvel and let me know if you find the tool useful.

Ethical Shopper demos

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