Concept: American online marketplace GreenChoice has collaborated with retail chains Walmart, Walgreens, and Target to launch a platform that enables shoppers to sort through several items and offsets the carbon footprint of their purchases. Using the platform, shoppers can browse through items using filters, view their climate and health ratings, find the appropriate product to purchase, and offset its associated emissions.
Nature of Disruption: GreenChoice requires users to create an account on the platform to avail the services. Once registered, users can browse through a catalog of around 3,000 items from Walmart, Walgreens, and Target. The platform lets them apply over 90 filters based on food allergies, dietary preferences, ingredients, nutrients, and environmental impact to narrow down their search. Each item comes with a GreenScore, which reflects its climate and health impact, rated from 0 to 100. The score is determined using data from research institutes, third-party certification bodies, government agencies such as the WHO and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), and information obtained from brands and food companies. GreenScore encourages users to make more carbon-conscious choices. They can also find healthier swaps for the items they’ve chosen, with the platform recommending similar alternatives that are either more environment friendly, more nutritious, or both. The platform levies a $3.50 service charge on every order, which goes towards the startup’s operational costs. It also offers a subscription program, beginning at a monthly rate of $7. The program enables members to avoid the service charge and leverage additional perks, including live chats with registered dieticians and more in-depth knowledge about specific ingredients in products. When users finish shopping and ready to check out, the platform calculates the carbon footprint of their shopping experience, starting from the product to its packaging and transportation. After calculating the associated carbon footprint of each order, the platform offsets it by investing 1.5-2 times its equivalent into UN-certified sustainable energy projects. Currently, the funds go towards supporting the Los Santos Wind Power Project in Costa Rica. Funds are also used to offer environmental education activities in the local community in the region.
Outlook: Present-day consumers wish to make smart choices while shopping and are willing to spend more on eco-friendly goods and value-driven brands. However, conventional grocery stores offer extensive product options, many of which use buzzwords and misleading claims to lure customers. Moreover, deciphering labels is a complex process, often leading to misinformed choices. GreenChoice intends to offer a platform, which would aim to simplify the process of conscious and value-led shopping for the consumer. It would provide a health and environmental information-related database on its cataloged offerings, empowering consumers to purchase ecologically sustainable products and make their shopping experience carbon-neutral.