By Julie Kaszton, Outreach Coordinator, Free2Work
This Friday, October 21st, Free2Work is launching its new app with barcode scanning technology at Not For Sale’s Global Forum on Human Trafficking. Free2Work is ground central for the modern-day abolitionist movement and provides consumers and activists easy access to information on a company’s efforts to eliminate forced and child labor in its supply chain.
The mobile application, available on iPhone and Android, equips consumers with valuable information on companies’ labor standards and production practices at the moment they need it most – while they shop. Built-in barcode scanning technology enables consumers to scan the barcode of a specific product and instantly gain access to information about that company’s efforts to address forced and child labor in its supply chain. The aim of the app is to encourage companies to be more transparent about production practices and to enable consumers to make smart purchasing decisions that have a positive impact on workers’ lives.
Additionally, a new share component within the app gives consumers the ability to share all this information with their social networks on Facebook and Twitter. Social media posts are linked via hashtags to the specific company’s profile page, empowering consumers to directly voice their concerns about companies’ production practices. Consumers can also use the app to participate in the evaluation process by inputting basic product information such as product name, UPC code, raw materials, and country of manufacture.
Rohin Dharmakumar, business reporter for Forbes India, explained: “If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound? Today, we ask, ‘If companies do ugly things, but consumers don’t hear of them, are the companies still guilty?’ Free2Work is collating and channeling supply chain and labor practices information from around the world and putting it right into your hands.”
Smart phone technology is increasingly being used in the non-profit sector to engage constituents on a deeper level. More transparency means more accountability, and the Free2work app redefines an individual's shopping experience by bridging the gap between companies and consumers.
Featured in Al Jazeera, Dave Batstone, Founder and President of Not For Sale, an anti-human trafficking organization and partner with International Labor Rights Forum on the Free2Work platform explained: “Every product has a story. And I know that I am not the only person who does not want to wear people's tragedy. I do not want to consume their suffering with my morning cup of coffee. I would hope that everyone who touches a product that I buy had their lives enhanced by their participation in its production. Free2Work assigns a product a grade - A to F - based on the tangible steps that a company has taken to demonstrate that it has zero tolerance for forced labor in its supply chain.”
The more consumers scan products, the more they learn about the products they purchase each day. The hope is that a shift in consumer demand will have a positive ripple effect in the supply chain of companies and ultimately help improve production practices across industries.
Free2Work is the only resource for consumers with a particular concern for forced and child labor. Using a comprehensive rating tool and in-depth research process, the website has evaluated and graded products in a variety of different industries, ranging from food products and garments to electronics and toys. Free2Work is continuously adding to the database of rated companies, further developing the rating tool, and expanding the breadth of product information available to consumers. As part of the project, Free2Work maintains open channels of communication with the companies being rated to ensure they are aware of their grade and understand that their individual rating may improve, provided they strengthen their policies to eliminate labor rights abuses. The website also has numerous features where users can share information and resources, find ways to take action, and offer feedback on the project.
About Not For Sale
The Not For Sale Campaign equips and mobilizes Smart Activists to deploy innovative solutions to re-abolish slavery in their own backyards and across the globe. Together, we can end slavery in our lifetime.www.notforsalecampaign.org
About International Labor Rights Forum
International Labor Rights Forum is an advocacy organization dedicated to achieving just and humane treatment for workers worldwide.www.laborrights.org