“Like so many young children, growing up I knew of the world’s problems mostly in the abstract. I turned off the lights because my father told me not to waste energy. I didn’t let the faucet run so as not to waste water. In a way it’s not too different for adults. We know, in the abstract, that fast clothing, processed food, or plastic packaging are “bad.” But rarely do we have an intensely personal and pivotal moment where the abstract becomes real.
It was in 2014, when I was viewing the World Press Photo exhibition about the Rana Plaza collapse that the abstract and real stared at me from a photograph simultaneously.
Two people embracing each other one last time, or perhaps for the first time, found dead under the piles of the collapsed textile fabric in Bangladesh.
It was almost as if they were not dead, that they took part in a scene, to show what could have happened. But then to realize, it did happen. I stood there for a long time. I could recognize myself in them. Not as being a garment worker, but as being a human being. Later on, after I had seen the rest of the exhibition, I walked back as if to one more time absorb the feeling, to confirm to myself, that this time after seeing something terrible, I was not going to forget about it and continue with daily life as normal.
Every day we make choices with our purchases. I knew after seeing the photo of the Rana Plaza embrace, I didn’t want my purchases to indirectly affect (or end) someone’s life. Returning to Amsterdam in late 2015, and searching for fair, ecofriendly products myself, I got the idea to crowdsource a map of good products.
People care about other people and the environment—in the abstract. After all, most people would say that they want to buy from a company who treats people and the environment with respect. With goodmapp, we just make that choice a little easier.
I hope goodmapp can empower both consumers and social entrepreneurs, and ultimately change the consumer landscape so that there are more and more “good” products that respect people and the environment.”