Last month saw the beta launch of Beagle Button, a new online service designed to connect people to sustainable and ethical services and products through a free browser extension.
Beagle Button was founded by Tara Button Buy Me Once and Daniel Hemsley (Unwrpd), after they met at a ‘plastic hackathon’ and came up with a concept of showing people a more sustainable alternative to whatever product they are already browsing for online.
“We got talking after the hackathon and the idea of The Beagle Button – a browser extension that sniffs out a better product – was born,” Button told NPN. “Now we have a beta prototype live and we’re now looking for like-minded people to download it, test it and help it become the world-changing app we believe it can be.”
The Beagle Button browser extension is free to download and consumers have the option to choose what ‘better’ means to them. “So if the customer is passionate about particular credentials, such as veganism, ethical supply chains, plastic-free or charitable donations, they can fine-tune their Beagle Button experience to find the most suitable products. From then on, whenever they shop, if there is a better product out there, the Beagle Button will pop up and let them know about it. If they like the look of the product suggested, they simply click on it and will be taken to the shop that sells it.”
The upshot is that ethical retailers and producers get exposure to a wider audience of potentially loyal customers and consumers get convenience. “In 2020, we all want to do right by the environment, take care of people and buy good stuff,” says Button. “But it’s hard to keep these intentions in mind when you’re just popping on to Amazon to buy something quickly. Most people don’t have the time to research for better alternatives … With Beagle Button, you don’t have to do anything different. Once you’ve downloaded the button, that’s it. If there’s a better option, it will pop up without you having to search.”
we all want to do right by the environment, take care of people and buy good stuff. But it’s hard to keep these intentions in mind when you’re just popping on to Amazon to buy something quickly
The suggested products cover everything from face masks to toothpaste, food, kitchenware and clothing, and there are plans to expand so the service can even suggest an eco-holiday or ethical banking service.
As for price point, Button stresses that the service works hard to ensure the products on the database are value for money. “Sometimes the quality of materials, craftsmanship and ethical manufacturing can mean a slightly higher price point than fast fashion or bulk-made items. However they tend to last much longer which means financial savings in the long run. As the extension gets more sophisticated we’ll be able to tailor price points so that the prices are similar to those the customer is already looking at. It’s also worth mentioning that with affiliate links, we often get discounts that we can then pass on to our customers.”
In terms of building up its database of potential products, Beagle Button has five core overarching sustainability values: reducing waste; minimizing emissions; supporting workers; protecting animals; and avoiding chemicals. “When we go searching, we use a variety of different sources to prove eligibility: third-party certification (eg GOTS Organic or Fairtrade), third-party research such as that done by 2rap or Ethical Consumer, plus our own in-house research and experience,” explains Button. “Customers can also nominate products for inclusion through the app too and if they meet our criteria based on our five overarching pillars, they can be put on the list.”
Button says the service has had a positive response from users so far and that the official launch is set to take place in mid-2021. Interested parties can sign up as a beta user on the Beagle Button website.