Investor funded projects past and future
As an investor your money will be helping us in all our general business development as well as contributing to specific new projects. Two key projects for 2012/13 are as follows:
Opening up ECRA's core research
We conducted a feasibility study into more open business models in July 2009. One outcome of this was plans for new software which would allow external organisations around the world to add data directly to ECRA's core database (would be checked by researchers here). This might include, for example, environmental campaign groups in Peru or consumer groups in Hungary. Coupled with this would be free access to the core data to those who were contributing research.
In 2011 we held a successful discussion forum on "Collecting Data on Companies and Products - the Potential for Civil Society Co-operation". This has led to ongoing discussions with third parties including Open Corporates and Clean Clothes Campaign (Netherlands).
We are continuing to explore technical assitance and training solutions which would allow this very complex transformation to take place.
Community building strategies
The forums area of our website is already developing into a small community asking and answering questions around ethical buying issues and dilemmas. We are also building a wider community of a few thousand registered users who receive email newsletters and updates around our work.
We are looking at technical and other resource developments which will allow the community to grow and to share information on a wider range of ethical issues such as: personal ethical preferences, involvement in campaigns, and local activities.
Projects our investors have supported so far
We would like to thank all those who have invested so far and helped to make the following possible.
Integrating Magazine and On-line Content Offerings
In 2010/11 our main goal was to integrate all our web products into one website domain at www.ethicalconsumer.org. Now that it is complete, exciting new functionality allows users to easily see the stories behing a company's scores and to watch the scores change as they choose their own ethical priorities. It also allows simple and clear 'freemium' optional upgrades for all users, as well as a single logins for all users.
These have now been bundled together with the print magazine subscription into one clear consumer offering.
Mobile Phone Application
In March 2012 we launched a special version of our new website designed for easier use on mobiles. The website can detect whether a visitor is using a phone, and when they are, a smaller version of the buyers' guides is made available.
With just the score tables (customisable) and Best Buy advice, the pages are quick to load and easy to use. The service gives the same free basic access to score tables as the website, and subscribers can also login using their usual website password and view all the details behind the rankings and the product information pages.
Around 3,000 a month are now using these pages to access our data, and buying ethically as a result.
These and other future projects are also discussed in the 2012 Annual Review.