Conscious Consumers has launched its world first and soon to be market leading app, the Good Spend Counter. The app registers where you spend your money, giving the information to businesses to inform purchase and supply decisions.
So how does it work? The Good Spend Counter registers the spending of consumers at hospitality industry businesses (such as restaurants and bars) that have been accredited by the Conscious Consumers programme and shares the information with the business.
The app tracks consumer ethics and values, allowing the business to see information behind the motivation for the purchase.
Ben Gleisner, founder of Conscious Consumers and former economist for the Treasury, says that the Good Spend Counter has the potential to shape the market and hospitality is only the beginning.
“In the market we find a huge amount of businesses that want to understand what their consumers care about and we think the app is key to changing the behaviour of those businesses,” Ben says.
“Traditionally, to gauge consumer ethics and values there were two routes: the mega surveys that look at the whole market and market trends, and one-off surveys conducted by the businesses.
“The Good Spend Counter will allow businesses to find out what issues current customers care about and so allows them to see how that changes over time.”
Despite initially beginning in the hospitality space Conscious Consumers’ work has drawn the attention of other industries. Ben says the team is now focussing on expanding Conscious Consumers’ accreditation programme to included retail and hotels with a long term goal to cover every consumer-driven industry in New Zealand.
“I’d say that in two to three years what we want is 100,000 consumers using the Good Spend Counter to signal to businesses what they care about,” Ben says. “We worked out that those consumers are spending $40 million per year in disposable income so we’re saying to business that the Good Spend Counter is going to signal multi-million dollar demand for sustainability in the market.”
Conscious Consumers will effectively be leading the charge to create visible demand for the sustainability market across multiple industries simply by tracking where you spend your money and providing businesses with that information.
“At the moment I’d say that consumer demand for climate change and workers’ rights is hidden. I worked at the Treasury for six years before starting Conscious Consumers and there is very limited signal in the market for caring about workers or climate change. In economic terms it’s what we call a missing market.”
While purchasing fair trade and ethical products outside of the Good Spend Counter does make an impact Ben says it’s near impossible to measure the impact and business has no way of discerning if the purchase was made because the product was ethical, the business was ethical or both.
One of the main benefits for business of the Good Spend Counter is the potential for targeted advertising through the app.
“If we can communicate that values are why people spend where they do and give business access to that information through our platform they’ll be able to market to anyone. For example, they can send an electronic voucher for a half-price fairtrade coffee to people that shop around their business and care about fairtrade, but haven’t spent money in their business.”
The Good Spend Counter will be launched on 21 November for a four month pilot using 25 of the 200 businesses registered with Conscious Consumers.
You can register for the Good Spend Counter as a consumer here – it is fast, free and secure.