References Climate, Environment, Food

Interest in the sustainability of own consumption habits has raised to a whole new level in recent years. People want to be aware of how healthy their food ingredients are, where they are from, how they are produced, and also what is their carbon footprint. This kind of information should be given to consumers effortlessly and on demand. That is why Luke and S Group have jointly developed a carbon footprint calculator, integrated in S-mobile’s My Purchases service.

S Group started to investigate and communicate the carbon footprint of its products already some two years ago, before the climate change had become one of the most central media topics.

“We started very small. We had a couple of workshops for figuring out the best possible approach. We ended up in categorizing groceries into product groups and then integrating this information in My Purchases service,” tells Juha-Matti Katajajuuri, Luke’s senior scientist who took part in the project.

“It has been encouraging to notice that during our project the consumers’ need for this kind of information has increased. Our timing was right,” continues S Group’s corporate responsibility manager Senja Forsman.

It has been encouraging to notice that during our project the consumers’ need for this kind of information has increased.

Forsman describes the current state of the service as ‘version 0.1’. It already works well and helps the consumer enough to compare climate impact of various product groups, but there is still a lot to do for example in the resolution of data and product groups. There are also plans to add the origin of products as one factor in the service.

Lots of scientific work behind a simple service

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Consumers are increasingly interested in knowing the carbon footprints of every day products.

For customers the carbon footprint counter shows as one feature in S-mobile’s My Purchases service. However, underlying there is a significant amount of scientific work, computing, and data systematically collected & created by Luke. Based on these it was possible to form product group specific values, which can be further refined in the future.

“Even though the estimates are so far quite coarse-grained, they already have months of research work behind them. We are planning to continue and produce scientific publications about the project,” tells the project lead, Luke’s scientist Hanna Hartikainen.

The carbon footprint calculator was launched in My Purchases in September 20th, 2019. During the first six months the customer feedback has been very positive and encouraged the project group to carry on. Also international grocery store chains have contacted S Group and inquired how the service was designed and implemented.