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RFID Solution Enables Consumers to Manage Carbon Footprint at Stores

Ecoingot's IoT-based system employs blockchain technology and HF RFID-based connectivity from Compass Marketing, enabling shoppers to gain information regarding the carbon emissions related to products before making a purchase, and to buy credits or offset carbon use, via the company's app and a public ledger.
By Claire Swedberg

The solution builds on blockchain technology. Beginning on Earth Day, Ecoingot will offer consumers what it calls EGT tokens, which each carry a carbon value that makes it possible to offset the carbon impact of a given purchase or activity. Those using the tokens would first download the app. They can then earn tokens via activities in the app, or through loyalty points or purchases with participating brands.

Brands participating in the deployment will have Smartrac HF-NFC 13.56 MHz RFID tags attached to their goods, compliant with the ISO 15693 and ISO 14443 standards. Conversely, the tags could be attached to the shelves on which the products are displayed. Users would be able to see the SRL logo on a product's label and could tap their smartphone against that label. The system works with both Android- and iOS-based phones. With or without the app, users can view information about carbon emissions related to an item's production.

Russell Young
Those using the app can then employ their EGT tokens. For example, once they've viewed the carbon impact of a particular item, the app would display the EGT value of that impact. "You then, as the app user, would spend the relevant number of EGT tokens from your account that correspond with this impact," Kelly explains. As a result, he says, the user's EGT tokens would be immutably recorded as spent. The individual could replenish his or her tokens by making purchases from the brand, or by using Ecoingot's incentive and reward systems. "We are currently negotiating with a number of companies for integrating the tokens into their customer loyalty schemes."

Each token equates to 1 kilogram of carbon dioxide equivalent, a standard unit for measuring carbon footprints. This carbon value, Kelly says, was calculated based on what the company finds to be demonstrated proven environmental benefits. Whether or not the tokens are used, however, the content is available to help consumers make smarter choices about their purchases. "Our core mission is to make carbon data as readily available as nutritional data or origin of manufacture," he explains, "bringing environmental impact information into consumers' consciousness."

The RFID data captured by the mobile phone, either iOS or Android, is managed by the SRL Network platform and is then displayed in a way that can be understood easily and in a meaningful and comparable way, according to John White, SRL's CEO. Initially, he says, the greatest interest has been in the apparel category, as well as from several large well-known consumer goods brands. These brands are utilizing the SRL network, he notes, which "goes around Google and Facebook, allowing them to go directly to consumers."

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