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This app can work out your carbon footprint from your grocery receipt

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A Dublin-based startup called Evocco could soon make it much easier.

“It allows you to track, improve and offset the climate impact of your food purchases,” co-founder Hugh Weldon tells CNN Business.

Users only need to photograph the grocery receipt using the Evocco app, which identifies food products by reading the printed text and using machine learning. It then calculates the carbon footprint based on the location of the store and checking the type, weight and origin of a food with a database.

The database is managed by Eaternity, a life cycle assessment company based in Switzerland. If the receipt does not contain enough data about a product, Eaternity provides an estimate based on similar products and benchmarks, such as national import and export statistics, that determine where a product is likely to come from.

Evocco tracks the carbon footprint of grocery shopping.

Currently only available in the UK and Ireland, the app offers users the option to offset their purchases by contributing to Go Carbon Neutral, a non-profit Irish initiative that plants native forests.

John Beckett, founder of Go Carbon Neutral, says people must take personal responsibility for the climate crisis. “Apps like Evocco make it easy for people to take on the challenge and take positive, meaningful action,” he says.

In addition to the immediate impact of offsetting groceries, Evocco hopes to raise public awareness about the carbon footprint of different foods.

Some factors are well known, for example, animal products are usually more resource intensive that most plant-based alternatives and importing products increases its footprint, but the app also helps identify other important differences between items, such as seasonality or whether to refrigerate while traveling to the market. It also offers tips on how to reduce purchasing emissions.

Promote climate action

Evocco was founded in 2017 by Weldon and Ahmad Mu’azzam, shortly after they finished studying mechanical engineering at Trinity College Dublin. Available for free on iOS and Android devices, the app has been downloaded more than 1,000 times since its launch late last year.

Hugh Weldon and Ahmad Mu Azzam say there is a growing demand from consumers to buy sustainably.

“We saw the climate crisis as the biggest challenge of our time, and so we decided to dedicate our careers to being an active part of this solution,” says Mu’azzam.

A 2020 Survey per IBM (IBM) found that at least 57% of consumers would change their shopping habits to reduce their impact on the environment. A separate survey by the Boston Consulting Group found this 95% of consumers he believed his personal actions could help combat climate change.

“While tracking the personal carbon footprint is still in its infancy … there is definitely a desire among consumers to be able to track and authenticate the environmental claims of the products they purchase,” said Karl Haller, leader IBM’s Consumer Center of Competency, tells CNN Business.

Evocco is not the only app that wants to reach this climate-paying market. There is Capture, which calculates monthly CO2 emissions by asking users a series of questions about diet, transportation and other factors Yayzy i My Carbon Action, which link to a user’s bank account, calculating their transaction footprint.

As well as the personal purchase app, which Evocco hopes to launch in the United States later this year, the company is developing a digital tool to sell to food retailers, e-commerce platforms and delivery applications that will track the climate impact of a product’s journey through the supply chain. supply.

The goal is to help retailers provide climate impact information directly to consumers, while allowing Evocco to access product data to improve its application.

“Our vision is to be the digital tool for the food industry when it comes to providing information on climate impact and information on sustainable consumption,” says Mu’azzam.

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