University of Utah students Hannah Rogers and Frances Benfell know that shopping sustainably isn’t as easy as it seems. They started Conscious, an app and Google Chrome extension that helps customers easily make eco-friendly shopping decisions.
Conscious’s mission is to make sustainable consumption an accessible and fun experience for the average consumer. The software will offer sustainability metrics and provide lower carbon alternatives for the products that users are shopping for. Additionally, it will gamify conscious consumption by tracking the user’s consumption, creating leaderboards, and fostering competition among friends.
Benfell and Rogers both consider themselves to be eco-conscious and spend a lot of time researching sustainable options. While they are committed to helping the environment, they know that not everyone can expend the effort that sustainable consumption requires.
“People don’t have the time, research, or data to make the most sustainable decision,” Rogers said.
Conscious will work to vet companies before adding them to their platform. The team wants to hold companies accountable for their footprint and give sustainability data to consumers to help them make informed decisions. By sharing this data with consumers, they hope to make being carbon-conscious the competitive choice and incentivize companies to focus more on sustainability.
Benfell is studying economics and political science, and Rogers is studying geography and environmental and sustainability studies. They met in a climate finance class and teamed up to apply for a Get Seeded startup grant from the Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute. They have also participated in several other Lassonde programs to help grow their company.
“Entrepreneurship is throwing a bunch of darts in the dark,” Rogers said. “Neither of us has a background in business, so help from the people at Lassonde has been crucial.”
“It’s always helpful to have someone nearby who is ahead of you in progressing their business,” Benfell added. “There are so many business ideas here, it’s nice to find other like-minded companies.”
Conscious is still in the early stages of development. The team is working with a software engineer to develop their app and they are excited about the future. Their goal is to create a company that has an ethical mission and helps users live a life that aligns with their values.
“If everyone does a little, it does a lot,” Rogers said.