Smartphones are in the pocket of 84% of the world population e on average, people install at least 8 apps: this means that we live in a world made of apps. And with apps you can do a lot, and you can also do good. And this definitely feels like the era of apps with a conscience.
Let’s take the food: according to the DrawDown, the relationship to try to change things regarding the environment and global warming, reducing food waste is the best and fastest way to reduce climate change. It is the philosophy that moves Too Good to Go, app present in 17 countries (including Italy), with 54 million users, 88 million people involved, 100 thousand shops. Too Good to Go is an app to combat food waste: 125 thousand meals saved per day starting from the idea that good can be done with business. In practice, the app collects from all affiliated shops (restaurants, supermarkets, groceries) the list of what would be wasted during the day and allows you to order it through the app and go to collect it.
The philosophy of Too Good to Go, is, as explained by Lucie Bash, solving complex problems in a simple way: “We want to use the business – said another of the founders, Jamie Crummie – so that it does good: 40% of the food on the planet is wasted, 1200 billions of dollars. At the same time, 870 million people have nothing to eat every day. By wasting food we not only waste food, but also the earth and water to make them grow, the work to collect them, the fertilizers, the fuel to transport them, the electricity to keep them cool. With apps and technology we can make a difference and collaborate in the UN effort to halve food waste by 2030 ”.
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The idea that apps can make a difference is one of Apple’s guidelines. The company, which is behind the popularization of the App Store idea and which together with Google with the Play Store continues to make pervasive the idea that it is one of the best and most democratic ways of producing innovation, it plays a fundamental role: “Every week – explained Christopher, Apple’s head of App Store business for Europe – 600 million people in 175 countries have access to all apps in the Store“. These are “apps created by developers who must have only two requirements: innovative ideas and the ability to write code. And small developers are 90% of those on the Store “.
After all, respect for the environment can also be taught with a game. IS the choice made by ustwosoftware house specializing in videogames (such as the beautiful and award-winning Monument Valley), which he made Albaan adventure in nature, available only on Apple Arcade. The game follows the holidays of little Alba and with cardboard graphics tells the love story between the girl and nature. A gameplay suitable for children in 14 languages (there is also Italian): “We are a B Corp (a benefit company, ed) – said Jane Campbell, manager of the company – that is, we do business, but also protect the environment: we plant a million trees in the world with the game and with Alba we want to show that even one person can make a big difference in environmental protection “.
Apps can also be used to choose causes to dedicate oneself to and do good from a distance: MilkyWire, created by benefactress Nina Siemiatkowski, is designed to have a bottom-up impact on the environment. The goal is to give local volunteers and changemakers the opportunity to have funds and resources. Today the app is used to support more than 50 organizations in 30 countries, including Europe and the US. You can choose from among the proposals the one you are passionate about, with a tap you choose how much money to give and the app transparently offers updates on the donation process and its effects on the ground. Everything in your pocket.
Returning to the food and cosmetics sector and to the responsible choices of consumers, the French Julie Chapon and Francois Martin founded Yuka in 2017a company that does a simple but revolutionary thing: using the phone camera it allows you to read the barcode of the products on the shelves in supermarkets, perfumeries and pharmacies and evaluate on the basis of the contents and on the basis of an evaluation completely independent from the manufacturing companies such as both the real quality of the products: too many fats, too many sugars, materials of series A or series B. All this translates into a score that is given directly on the app and that is seen every day by 30 million users, 6 million active every month: “In Italy – explained Chapon – you are two million, 17 million in France and the US is growing rapidly “. She was a consultant and understood that she could make a difference in another way, while Martin was a pharmacist and together with his brother Benoit has the skills to understand what is really about when reading a product label. The business model? “75% of the turnover comes from the premium paid version of the app, 20% from the Yuka cookbook and 5% from the calendar. Nothing comes from companies, absolutely zero “.
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It is the story of sustainable fashion: fashion is already responsible for around 10% of the world‘s annual greenhouse gas emissions and if it continues in this way the percentage could rise to 25% by 2050. Renoon was founded in 2020 by an entirely Italian team in Amsterdam. The guide Iris Skrami, born in Milan of Albanian parents: “I had been passionate about sustainable fashion for years, I saw the confusion in the brands I worked for and the lack of consumer recognition for responsible products as there was no way to being able to understand them. The decisive moment came when I myself as a consumer was looking for a sustainable black dress and it took me 2 months to find it ”. Eventually, the group around Skrami saw an opportunity: “Kick off one new generation of consumers who choose products based on their sustainability values and do it with joy. In the end, fashion is who we are and how we present ourselves in the world and it must represent change ”.
What happens then? It happens that apps have become so pervasive, like the phones that carry them, that they have eventually developed a conscience as well. Of course, not all of them, just some. But now activism, the ability to do something and change they pass beyond, from the app economy and from smartphones.