From shopping for clothing manufactured by companies deemed to be doing good to a search engine that plants trees with every query, the following are examples of innovative online media that is using the World Wide Web to make the world a better place.
Dress to Progress
The clothes we wear are public presentations of our identities. They reflect our taste, our personalities, our mood — even our values. Sadly, the apparel industry is a significant contributor to water pollution throughout the world and is notorious for poor working conditions. So-called “fast fashion” trends that overhaul clothing lines every few months have created a glut of discarded garments in global landfills.
A few clothing manufacturers have raised the standard, but how can consumers find them?
Project JUST — a third-party certifier — reports on the ethics and operations of apparel brands by releasing “JUST-Approved” shopping guides. Criteria for inclusion as a recommended brand include business transparency, sustainability, labor conditions and environmental impact. The Project JUST team also weighs in on products’ style and fit.
Project JUST’s first shopping guide focuses on denim. Recommended brands include MUDJeans, which has revolutionary upcycling and denim-leasing programs, and Nudie Jeans, which offers lifelong free repairs for its products.
Community voting for the topic of the next guide was already underway in August.
The website also offers a searchable catalog of popular brands (Adidas, American Eagle, Anthropologie, etc.), with brief information about the reported practices — both positive and negative — of each.
Consumers looking for new brands to support can read nonpromotional content from the online media tool that’s illuminating as well as enjoyable. The website’s “Gift Guide: Dads Yo” post recommends buying Warby Parker sunglasses, and a “Style File: #FESTLOVE” post endorses a breezy dress from Reformation.
How Did We Get Here?
Marketplace and Business Insider
Members of today’s workforce are less likely to stay at the same job for life. In some ways, relations between employers and employees have never been worse. And — more than ever before — the gap between the wealth of CEOs and their workers is staggering. But things weren’t always this way.
The Price of Profits — a project created by American Public Media’s Marketplace and Business Insider — examines the factors that have changed U.S. corporations over the past 50 years.
Telling the story through text, audio clips and short videos, the project’s creators explain the gradual devaluation of workers in the U.S. economy. The Price of Profits paints an essential, entertaining, occasionally enraging portrait of how we got here.
For a listen-only experience, check out the The Price of Profits audio series. Our favorite pieces: an interview with former BP CEO John Browne about social responsibility, and a look at how some business schools are teaching students that success isn’t measured in money alone.
Search and Sow
Click and plant. That’s the simple model behind Ecosia. This search engine is similar to Google, except it gives away 80 percent of its profits to fund tree-planting projects around the world. As of early July, more than 4 million trees had been planted, mostly in areas affected by droughts.
Ecosia prioritizes transparency, so you can visit its Knowledge Baseto find details on how its fundraising works, where money has been spent, and the team behind the project. Perhaps most importantly, the search engine works well. We tested a handful of queries in Ecosia and Google side by side — results and speeds were similar.
This article originally appeared in the Medium department of the Fall 2016 issue of B Magazine.