Tessa on apps to save the world

January 17, 2017

Tessa on apps to save the world

We’re glued to our smartphones and there’s an app for just about everything these days – so why not use its power for good? There are 100s of mobile phone apps out there that encourage and enable positive change – we’ve picked a few which might help you reduce your carbon footprint or make better consumer choices. Note, we’ve left out website-only tools, because there are too many good ones to include!


  • Flick Electric Co customers are lucky to have the Choice app available to them. It measures the real time carbon impact of a customer’s energy use and tells them when the grid is using cleaner, renewable energy.
  • #climate aims to amplify climate action by giving you easy ways to get on board with solutions and connect and share with others.
  • Ecosia is an app and a website, an alternative to Google and other search engines. Every time you search, they earn money for planting projects in developing countries.
  • Plugshare is a worldwide map of charging stations for electric vehicles, with both public and private stations listed. The app makes it easy to access that info on the go. (By the way, we’ve got one!)
  • Mevo is the new kid on the block, making it easy for Wellingtonians to hire and pick up an electric car. The app allows you to book and find the car, and also unlock it.
  • Chariot, another Wellington start-up, is an app which connects people willing to carpool. Members can list and request rides, and organise for passengers to chip in for petrol.
  • Metlink, Wellington’s favourite public transport provider, has an app so you can plan routes and get real time information.
  • Thanks to a successful crowdfunding campaign, ethical shopping guide Good on You is now available for New Zealand shoppers and let’s you check where the clothes you’re looking at were made, and how.
  • Safe Shopper is an app which helps New Zealand shoppers pick products which have not been tested on animals. It classes products by Vegan, Some Vegan, NZ Made and Parent Company May Test.
  • Wellington-based Conscious Consumers have made the Good Spend Counter, which does what it says – logs the transactions you make around the city according the sustainable credentials of the businesses. Conscious Consumers have been accrediting businesses in 19 different categories ranging from Vegan to Living Wage employers and are now encouraging people to spend where it matters.
  • You’re not much good to the world unless you’re healthy! Foodswitch allows you to scan barcodes on food packaging and get info on the nutrition of the product and give it a traffic light health rating.
  • Best Fish Guide is a New Zealand made, independent consumer guide to sustainably caught seafood. Forest & Bird’s app ranks the sustainability of seafood so you can make environmentally friendly choices when you’re at the supermarket or in a restaurant.
  • Buying local and seasonal is a great way to reduce your impact, and Farmstand makes it easy to find local markets.
  • Medium is a platform which allows you to publish writing on stuff that matters and have it shared with people that care. New Zealand’s Action Station has been making really good use of it if you want to see some examples.
  • The EasyGiving app, launched by Christchurch-based tax refund company WooHoo, allows people to claim a 33 per cent rebate from the IRD for all donations over $5. It gives those wanting to give to charity a single app for all their donations, a record of their giving history and a quick way to claim tax credits without needing paper forms or receipts. WooHoo charges 5 per cent of every donation to cover costs and credit card companies will charge a further 2 per cent, leaving 93 per cent of each donation for charities.
Did you know? If your phone can't manage all those apps and is on its last legs, you can hand it over to us for free and we'll take care of it - our partners sort old mobile phones into those that can be reused, or that need to be stripped for parts to be recycled or disposed of responsibly. More details here.

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