eBay, Kindle and Skype are some of the best apps for creating sustainable behaviors, according to a new study by WSP, a global professional services consultancy.
eBay ranked highest due to its huge popularity and ability to make selling unwanted goods uncomplicated, which cuts waste and reduces the need to buy new goods. WSP says. Of all the apps measured eBay was the best promoter of the circular economy. The Kindle app came second as it was also one of the most downloaded apps, avoiding the need to buy a separate reader and the need to print and distribute paper books.
Other notable apps to make this list include Airbnb, Spotify and Google Maps. To determine the rankings, WSP used the following scoring system based on three metrics:
- Number of downloads (i.e. popularity)
- Stickability (including the Average App Rating, functionality and user comments)
- Green Rating
The rating was measured on a scale of 0-5 with 5 being the highest ranking. The highest ranking was reserved for apps where sustainable living is the core purpose of the app. Areas of sustainability that were considered included waste reduction, fuel consumption reduction, recycling and promotion of the sharing economy, among others.
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“What we learnt from this study is that the most sustainable apps are not necessarily the greenest ones, but rather the most popular programs are part of our day to day living and which enhance, not impede, citizens lifestyle choices,” said Andy Porter, head of digital at WSP. “Helping people make money, save money, and live a richer life will always be the approach which has widest appeal, and this shows through in our study.”
The rapid adoption of media tablets such as Apple’s iPad and Amazon’s Kindle are causing a steep decline in the use of paper for books, magazines and newspapers. While this might be good for preserving trees, it is yet to be seen if e-readers are actually more sustainable after factoring in the net impact.
Apps are also being used by companies to gain insights into their supply chains. Unilever is using the new Greenlight Assessments iPad app from Muddy Boots Software to gain immediate access to sustainability progress from its agricultural suppliers. Greenlight offers a portable data-collection solution and enables companies to collaborate with its suppliers on any type of audit or assessment, allowing information to be shared both up and down the supply chain.