- Progressive Shopper is a newly launched platform and web extension for Google Chrome designed to make it easy for consumers to access information about brands' political contributions, according to a press release. The platform pulls data from the Federal Elections Commission (FEC), which is already public, but provides it in a user-friendly format.
- When people download the web extension and visit an online retailer, a flag will appear in the upper right-hand corner of their browser indicating whether the brand donates to Democrats (blue), Republicans (red) or in a bipartisan way (purple). Consumers can click on the flags to find more details about the company's political giving, including overall contributions and a breakdown of giving by PAC and employees. On the website, users can review the political contribution history across brands in a number of categories, including airlines, cars, cosmetics and sports.
- Progressive Shopper also offers alternative retailers at the point of purchase. The determinations on the site are sourced from contributions made during the 2016 and 2018 election cycles up to Sept. 18, 2018.
Consumers are growing more interested in the political and social activities of their favorite brands, especially in today's divisive political climate. As corporations spend billions of dollars funding political candidates, Progressive Shopper makes it easier for consumers to uncover which candidates and political parties their favorite brands are supporting to help them shop brands that share their values — and find alternative brands that may better align with their political ideals.
While companies' political contributions are public via the FEC, having the information more readily available to consumers as they shop could give brands some pause about where they contribute. Sixty-three percent of consumers prefer purchasing products and services from companies that stand for a purpose that reflects their own values and believes, and avoid companies that don't, according to Accenture research. Sixty-two percent want companies to take a stand on the social, cultural, environmental and political issues that they care most about.
Like Progressive Shopper, other efforts have cropped up to help consumers be better informed about brands' stances on issues. A group of Certified B Corps brands recently launched "Vote Every Day," a campaign that focuses on the idea that consumers can vote for the issues they care most about when they choose what to buy, where to work and which companies to do business with. B Corps are businesses certified as meeting environmental and social standards by the nonprofit B Lab, along with public transparency and legal accountability.