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Sustainable food choices at the Point of Sale

De­velop­ing an end-consumer appli­cation to give con­sumers the choice to make in­formed buy­ing deci­sions in the su­per­market by dis­play­ing CO2 emis­sion infor­mation.

Sustainability at CDTM

It all started with the Trend Semi­nar. The data-driven future of dairy was our topic. The tech­nolog­ical dis­rup­tion didn’t hap­pen yet, or is just about to hap­pen. When it comes to the future of dairy, we were con­front­ed a lot with the topic of sus­taina­bility. How much impact tech­nology can have if it’s used to pro­mote sus­taina­bility in the food sys­tem. At the end of the Trend Semi­nar, many of our ideas were devel­oped with atten­tion to mak­ing agri­culture more sus­taina­ble.

Dur­ing the Trend Semi­nar, a lot of us tried to re­think our life­styles. When it comes to food con­sump­tion, we often dis­cussed and tried to figure out how we can re­place the meat and dairy that we con­sume. We tried out new dairy substi­tutes, chal­lenged our­selves to eat more vege­tarian or even vegan, and thought about habits that pro­duce less waste.

The student sustainability initiative

During the course Man­aging Prod­uct De­velopment we con­tinued the next CDTM cli­mate action initia­tive by work­ing on a pro­ject to­gether with KPMG Sus­taina­bility Ser­vices. The goal was to design a digi­tal solu­tion to nudge end-consumers to­wards more envi­ron­men­tally friend­ly be­havior using data-driven in­sights and gami­fica­tion ele­ments. We learned that sus­taina­bility is a very com­plex con­struct that has to meet a variety of re­quire­ments. We have started a stu­dent sus­taina­bility initia­tive at CDTM and tried to help our friends to re­think their habits, with small ac­tions.

Consumer demand drives sustainability initiatives

Many people asked us “Why do you even want to ap­proach end-consumers? It’s the pro­ducers that are re­spon­sible for all the pollu­tion that we face!” But the pro­ducers repre­sent the sup­ply. And de­mand drives the sup­ply. But what our team want­ed to achieve, was a change of per­spec­tive. We want­ed to devel­op a solu­tion that shows people that every­one can con­tribute to cli­mate ac­tion.

We started an online survey in which over 300 people partic­ipated. We came up with one area of cli­mate action, with which every­one could start with. Food con­sump­tion. Food con­trib­utes over one third to our per­sonal carbon foot­print per year. And re­search con­firms that by mak­ing more con­scious and envi­ron­men­tally friend­ly food choic­es, we can reduce our food-related carbon foot­print by up to 50% per year.

Reduce our food-related carbon footprint

We started to devel­op our end-consumer appli­cation called SVYVE. Even­tually we have turned the serious topic of cli­mate change into some­thing ac­tiona­ble. How can the pur­chase of, for exam­ple, one single apple makes a dif­fer­ence in cli­mate change? By add­ing all pur­chases around the globe up. This is what we aimed for. Many of us, in­clud­ing me, have the same thoughts when going food shop­ping: Does choos­ing this prod­uct or that prod­uct really make a dif­fer­ence? I don’t even know if this is pos­itive – there is no trans­paren­cy.

With SVYVE we want­ed to give end-consumers the choice to make in­formed buy­ing deci­sions in the su­per­market by finally being able to access prod­uct life cycle emis­sions. Through scan­ning de­sired prod­ucts and, even­tually, choos­ing the most envi­ron­men­tally friend­ly prod­uct, a virtual tree can be grown and plant­ed in a com­muni­ty. The virtual trees would then be trans­lated into plant­ing real trees in co­opera­tion with NGO’s.

Con­sumers with an inter­est in envi­ron­mental con­sciousness could use SVYVE to not only reduce their carbon foot­print by com­paring differ­ent op­tions in the su­per­market and add­ing up their car­bon-saving choic­es. Addi­tional­ly, con­sumers would be re­ward­ed for shar­ing their data. They have an inter­est in shar­ing their scanned and chosen prod­ucts to push sup­pliers and retail­ers to meet their sus­taina­bility needs. On the other hand, food-related busi­nesses have an inter­est in the scanned prod­uct data to opti­mize their as­sort­ment, and thus pro­duc­tion cycles, which was the basis for our busi­ness model. No matter if it’s related to your food choice, your travel, your free time, or even your job. Every choice makes a dif­fer­ence.

Klaudia Guzij, Carla Pregel-Hoderlein, Jana Petry, Katharina Brenner, Christian Spier, Andrea Socher; Elite Graduate Program "Honours Degree in Technology Management"