A nifty new Chrome extension uses machine learning to sort products on Amazon by their eco-friendly aspects—allowing consumers to make sustainable choices about paper mill runoff or deforestation without pouring through research on their lunch breaks.
Called Finch, its ranking can be applied to the top 41 product categories on Amazon, where it ranks evaluates thousands of different products.
Browser extensions are becoming as widely utilized and exciting as the App Store was for the first few iPhones. But compared to an iPhone, the operating system of a computer is much more powerful, allowing more creativity in the functioning of these add-ons.
Along with sorting available information on sustainability listed on the Amazon product page itself, Finch also pulls a lot of its rankings from long, industry-specific reports on supply chains, and self-reported data that’s designed to be reviewed by stakeholders and regulators.
Finch founder Lizzie Horvitz explains that nothing scores a perfect ten, but anything above a 6.5—and the product is already having very minimal impact. She also says that sometimes it may be difficult to totally ascertain what’s the most sustainable product, since it can often be determined by how it’s used by the consumer.
“What’s important to us is to show where it falls, given the relationship to the other products out there,” she tells Fast Company.
In terms of growing the small startup, the sky’s the limit. Finch wants to eventually rank all the categories on Amazon before moving on to other large ecommerce platforms, and eventually “any ecommerce site out there.”
There’s currently a waitlist to acquire the browser extension, which isn’t featured on any digital extension marketplaces. You can join the waiting list on their website, and read their blog while you’re at it to learn how to make the most sustainable decisions when faced with near endless choices.