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Have you ever wondered how much your grocery store trips contribute to climate change? There’s an app for that now. To help measure your supermarket shopping impact – and all you have to do is to take a photo of your receipt from the store and then Evocco will calculate the environmental footprint of your purchases, giving you insights into which products are the most carbon-intensive so you can make climate-smarter choices next time.
Dublin-based startup Evocco is making it easy to find out the carbon footprint of your food purchases, track which items are making the biggest dent on the planet, and then offset your climate impact too. It’s an all-in-one mobile free app currently available on both iOS and Android devices for users in the U.K. and Ireland, founded in 2017 by mechanical engineers Hugh Weldon and Ahmad Mu’azzam.
Once users photograph their grocery receipt using the app, Evocco is able to identify the products on the list using machine learning technology, and calculates the climate impact of these items based on the type, weight and origin of the food.
It’s database is run by Swiss life cycle assessment firm Eaternity, who can also give carbon footprint estimates when it doesn’t recognise an item, by modelling data from similar products and national import and exporting statistics to find out where that product was likely manufactured.
Overall, plant-based products tend to have a far lower carbon footprint than animal-based foods, because the latter requires carbon-intensive livestock farming. Animal agriculture not only drives 18% of global greenhouse gas emissions, but also contributes to water pollution, soil erosion and fuels deforestation.
Shifting to healthy sustainable diets is one of the most powerful things individuals can do to reduce their climate impact, while improving their own health and well-being.Clementine O’Connor, Sustainable Food Systems Expert, UNEP
But Evocco also takes into account other non-production factors that can make the footprint of a product higher, such as if your vegetables are seasonal, or whether refrigeration was needed to keep the product fresh during transportation. Once the final “score” of your grocery trip is calculated, users gain insights into the types of food that are driving the most emissions, and Evocco offers recommendations on how to reduce that figure.
The app even shows the nutritional value of your food purchases, so you can begin making the most informed choices when it comes to the planet’s health, and your own too.
Evocco takes it one step further by giving users the chance to offset their emissions, partnering with nonprofit organisation Go Carbon Neutral. Contributions to the charity will go towards native tree-planting projects across Ireland, under continuous forest cover, which allows woodland to become “havens of biodiversity”.
We see food as the first step in somebody’s climate action journey. With this tool, we aim to make it easier for people to join the climate movement.Hugh Weldon, Co-Founder, Evocco
Weldon says that the app is all about making environmental action accessible to everyone in the public. “We see food as the first step in somebody’s climate action journey,” the co-founder told the UNEP, who has backed the startup as one of Europe’s most promising sustainable champions. “With this tool, we aim to make it easier for people to join the climate movement.”
Clementine O’Connor, sustainable food systems expert at the UNEP, says that tech-forward tools such as Evocco will be instrumental in raising awareness about the link between our food choices and our individual carbon footprint.
Read about all the newest sustainability apps here.
“Shifting to healthy sustainable diets is one of the most powerful things individuals can do to reduce their climate impact, while improving their own health and well-being. Evocco’s app provides a really practical tool to help consumers understand the impact of their food purchases and make small changes to make their diet more sustainable,” said O’Connor.
A recent study found that sustainable apps are exactly what consumers are now looking for, with nearly two-thirds pointing specifically to platforms that can help them make sustainable buying choices as something they’d like to use.
The rising popularity of such apps have been driven primarily by millennials and Gen Zs, who are willing to spend more on value-led brands and sustainable goods across every product category more than ever before.
Lead image designed by Green Queen Media, courtesy of Evocco.