RFID Solution Enables Consumers to Manage Carbon Footprint at Stores

Feb 01, 2019—

European technology company Ecoingot is betting consumers might alter their purchasing behaviors if they better understood the carbon footprint of the products they bought. The firm's new app enables shoppers to view, with the tap of a mobile phone, how much greenhouse gas a specific product adds to the atmosphere before they make a purchase.

The new system, which Ecoingot dubs the Internet of Carbon, leverages RFID technology and a wireless network from Compass Marketing, known as the Smart Retail Label (SRL) Network. It is scheduled to be taken live on Earth Day (Apr. 22, 2019). The SRL Network platform communicates between consumer brands, retailers and individual shoppers regarding store pricing and inventory levels, while providing what the company calls "media to consumers' mobile phones." The Internet of Carbon system employs that functionality within the platform.

RFID Solution Enables Consumers to Manage Carbon Footprint at Stores

Ciaran Kelly

Consumers can use the solution not only to view a product's carbon footprint, but also to participate in the blockchain-based system of buying and offsetting carbon. They can acquire tokens and, when making a purchase, accept the carbon emissions related to a particular product or offset them with their existing tokens. This will be a new feature of SRL's direct-to-consumer mobile application, at which time users will be offered the opportunity to offset their carbon footprint. Labels or packaging can provide information regarding products, recipes, allergens or sustainability.

Ecoingot was launched last year in Malta to provide a platform for solutions related to the carbon impact of goods and services. Its leadership includes environmental scientists, blockchain and distributed ledger technical experts, and individuals with a banking and finance focus. The team includes Jeremy White, Avery Dennison's former global head of innovation.

The startup is working with the Sustainable Apparel Coalition, a sustainable production alliance for the apparel, footwear and textiles industries, based on its connections to Avery Dennison and its Janela EVRYTHNG product, says Ciaran Kelly, Ecoingot's managing director. The solution's focus, Kelly explains, is to help consumers take charge of their own carbon footprint.

"As individuals, we all have an obligation to reduce our carbon impacts," Kelly states, "yet the information to help us make informed decisions is disappointingly unavailable where it would be most useful: at the point of sale." Kelly cites a January 2017 report by Unilever indicating that 33 percent of consumers are now choosing to buy from brands they believe are doing social or environmental good. Twenty-one percent of consumers surveyed said they would actively choose brands that made their environmental credentials clearer on their packaging and in their marketing.