Wake Up Call

Buycott: New App Empowers Buyers to Vote with Their Wallets

Corporate America, like, totally sucks, man. And the worst part is it's such an incestuous labyrinth of subsidiaries owned by billionaire industrialists that it's hard to know which products are "safe" to buy and which might mean giving your money to a cause that's completely against your principles.

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But thanks to the miracle of technology, that doesn't have to be the case anymore.

A new app called Buycott lets you scan items' barcodes and trace their ownership up to top corporations -- and you might be surprised which products are putting money into the pockets of people like Charles and David Koch, the business moguls who spend millions furthering their conservative political agendas.

The concept is as simple as scanning the items in your shopping cart to determine whether they're owned by people you don't like. Forbes, for example, points out that scanning Brawny paper towels, Angel Soft toilet paper, or Dixie cups will reveal that you're giving your money to Koch Industries by way of its subsidiary Georgia-Pacific.

But that's not all. The app also lets you join user-created campaigns such as "Say No to Montsano" or "Equality for LGBTQ," which already has gained more than 13,000 members. If you join a campaign, the app will tell you whether the company's principles align with your own. For example, if you scan a pound of Starbucks coffee, you'll see the company supports LGBTQ rights.

"I don't want to push any single point of view with the app," the app creator Ivan Pardo told Forbes. "For me, it was critical to allow users to create campaigns because I don't think it's Buycott's role to tell people what to buy. We simply want to provide a platform that empowers consumers to make well-informed purchasing decisions."

You can download the app in the Apple App Store -- and an Android version will be coming soon. The creators encourage users to add products to the system if they aren't already in it, and they are still working on adding even more information about corporate family trees.

Now, go forth and spend responsibly.

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Lauren Saria
Contact: Lauren Saria