“Environmental Challenge” app testing: A challenge of a completely different kind

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Written By Kampretz Bianca

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What happens to my data?

The positive news first: Environmental challenge It is free, does not require registration to use and does not contain advertising content. Less good: The provider does not provide information about data security and terms of use in the app itself or on an associated website. At the time of our testing (June 2024), the last update on Google Play was dated April 13, 2024. So the update is only a few weeks old. So it’s even more surprising that we didn’t find any information online about the Paris-based provider or the app’s privacy policy. Given when using Environmental challenge We evaluate this situation very critically with regards to requested releases – for example, GPS positioning to show local air quality.

What are the challenges?

Offers almost 40 challenges Environmental challenge ambitious app users, most of which revolve around reducing their own CO2 footprint: reducing water and electricity consumption, avoiding paper printing, unnecessary packaging and foods with palm oil, as well as a low-meat diet are part of this. The app also motivates people to adopt a healthier lifestyle, for example by stopping smoking or participating in regular sporting activities. The individual and social added value of such measures is indisputable, which demonstrates it in detail and reveals what exactly needs to be done, for example, to identify and boycott commercial environmental offenders Environmental challenge but not. The challenges, which are limited to periods of three to five days, are typically limited to general statements and motivational phrases (“Your efforts promote community well-being and environmental protection”). In some cases we found concrete instructions for action, for example on how to avoid wasting electricity or printed bank statements. Challenge titles such as “separate waste”, “environmentally friendly purchases” or “understand environmental problems” are usually followed, but no explanatory text explains how the respective challenge should be implemented.

Example screenshots of the ENVIRONMENT CHALLENGE app
The home screen (Fig. 1) still looks organized, but the further you go into the “Environmental Challenge” functions, the more superficial and incorrect the content becomes (Fig. 2 and 3). There is then complete confusion when it comes to the app’s measurement functions (Fig. 4). (Source: screenshots)

What do these numbers mean?

Below the currently selected challenge shows Environmental challenge Blocks with titles such as “Air Quality” and “Noise Pollution”. Behind them are current measured values ​​that can be displayed for specific locations (air quality) or across the entire country (water quality, ecosystem). If you allow the app to access your smartphone’s microphone, the noise level can also be measured in decibels. Here too we lose essential information during testing that would help us understand and classify the displayed values. We found that Germany does well in terms of “Black Carbon Emissions Intensity” with a result of 92.1, ranking 31st. According to the app, fishing is in terrible condition, ranking 58th with a score of 14.0. And even with a lot of imagination we could not imagine what “exposure to PM2.5” (classification 22, result 70.4) and “biome protection” (global classification 1, according to the application) mean. The situation is similar to the challenges discussed previously, where the ecological value added is measured, among other things, in kilograms of waste saved. Exactly how this unit of measurement is composed and what source the data comes from reveals Environmental challenge no.

Conclusion

The title of our test article also forms the core of our conclusion: The use of Environmental challenge presents us with completely new challenges that we did not expect. The application presents major deficits both in terms of central aspects of consumer protection, such as the security of data and information about the supplier, and in terms of technical quality and content. Consumers looking for the next sustainability challenge will find more to offer elsewhere.

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