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Introducing Cocolist, an app for finding eco-conscious businesses in Vietnam.

Xin chào! I’m Ben, and I live in Saigon, a vibrant city but with an increasingly alarming issue: pollution. While I have taken steps to reduce my own eco-footprint, I wanted to do more.

Saigon has a thriving local business community and at the same time people are becoming more aware about environmental issues. More consumers prefer to choose businesses that have taken steps be greener or shown a commitment to lessen their impact.

And in fact there are already lots of businesses in Saigon doing things like reducing single-use plastics or eliminating them entirely, even when it might hurt their bottom line. These businesses deserve to be rewarded for their actions.

But how can eco-conscious consumers find eco-conscious businesses? Until now, the only way was through word-of-mouth, in Facebook groups[1][2], or blogs[3], but these still have one key problem: there is no independent, comprehensive list.

That’s why we created Cocolist, Vietnam's first up-to-date directory of eco-conscious businesses. Starting specifically with food & beverage businesses in Saigon, this project's goal is to eventually expand into more industries like hospitality and health & beauty, and more cities like Da Nang and Hanoi in the coming months. By giving consumers the power of choice, I hope Cocolist will inspire more business owners to take action.

How it works

Positive recognition only

Every day in Vietnam there are millions of pieces of single-use plastic or styrofoam waste generated in food & beverage industry alone. A single bubble tea or coffee can use up to 4 separate pieces of plastic: a cup, lid, straw and carrier. Local business owners are in a unique position to be game changers in this movement.

At the same time, the reality is that business owners have to take many factors into consideration — e.g. profit margins, convenience, and reliability — when deciding whether or not to use the eco-friendly packaging that is currently available on the market.

Therefore the goal of Cocolist is to incentivize green business practices by giving positive recognition only, and the data being collected reflects that. Along the way, any time a business takes another step, the app will recalculate its score (see below) and publish it.

Open source

We believe that the best way to encourage participation is to be as transparent as possible. That's why we've made our full data set and website open source and open for anyone to contribute and improve. In addition, it will always be free for businesses to have a listing on Cocolist. We don't believe in profiting off business owners that are already footing the additional costs of replacing plastic.

If you're interested in contributing, find more details on Github.

Business Scoring

For the initial data gathering and research phase, Cocolist is using the Green Restaurant Association’s Green Restaurant Certification Standards[4] as a guide for choosing what data points to collect and how to evaluate each business's environmental accomplishments. These accomplishments are then grouped into categories with a number of corresponding badges shown on the business's profile:

Take-out & delivery

  • “Bring-your-own container” discount
  • Plastic-free delivery available
  • Single-use plastics reduced or eliminated


  • Single-use plastics reduced or eliminated
  • Reusable napkins, towels, linens, straws, etc.
  • Free, refillable water provided


  • Proper recycling & waste separation
  • Food waste management
  • Grease traps on sinks
  • Green cleaning products


  • Local ingredients
  • Vegan options
  • Vegetarian
  • Sustainable seafood


Green delivery

This business provides reduced or plastic-free delivery.

Bring-your-own container discount

This business offers a discount to customers who provide their own take-out containers.

Vegetarian menu

This business offers a dedicated vegetarian or plant-based menu.

Free drinking water

This business provides free drinking water and you can refill your water bottle for free.

Food waste program

This business has a food waste management program.

Green kitchen

This business has taken steps to make their kitchen greener by reducing single-use plastic and managing waste.

No plastic straws

This business has eliminated plastic straws in dine-in and take-out.

No plastic bags

This business has eliminated carry-out plastic bags in dine-in and take-out.

No plastic bottles

This business has eliminated plastic bottles in dine-in and take-out.