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Finland has an app showing shopping’s true carbon footprint

In a bid to encourage people to change their lifestyles.
The aim of the app is to help people adapt their lifestyles and make them compatible with the goal of keeping global warming within 1.5 degrees Celsius, service provider says. Image: Andrey Rudakov, Bloomberg

Shoppers will soon be able to work out the true carbon footprint of their purchases thanks to an app from one of the most digitally savvy nations in the world.

Unlike other carbon-footprint calculators already on the market, the application developed by Enfuce Financial Services Oy, a Finnish payment services provider, does not rely on users inputting the data manually. Instead, it combines data from credit cards and banks with purchase data from retailers to provide real-time calculations of how a given product affects the climate.

With an estimated 70% of carbon emissions globally attributed to end users, Enfuce chairman and co-founder Monika Liikamaa says the app will help people adapt their lifestyles and make them compatible with the goal of keeping global warming within 1.5 degrees Celsius.

“There’s a huge change that needs to occur,” Liikamaa said.

The average Finn needs to reduce emissions from about 10.4 tons of CO2 a year to about 2 tons, according to lifestyle carbon footprint research by D-mat Oy. That requires getting accurate information on “how their behaviour impacts the climate,” she said in an interview.

Digitally savvy

The home of Nokia and Angry Birds provides fertile ground for these kind of applications. Finland consumes the most mobile data per capita in the world and has reduced its cash use by a fifth since 2014. An estimated 10 million payment cards are in use in Finland, a country of just 5.5 million people.

After the initial set up and opt-in, the app will calculate a carbon footprint based on the user’s purchases — to the level of individual steaks or tomatoes. It will then propose actions to reduce their carbon impact. Typical suggestions may include taking a shorter shower, hopping on the bus instead of the car, turning down the thermostat and going vegan for a week.

The app is a side project for Enfuce, which already handles sensitive payments data securely. Its core business is to run credit card systems for clients that do not require owning expensive computer servers.

Enfuce is in talks with three major banks and is already working with Mastercard Inc. and Amazon.com Inc.’s cloud-server unit. No vendor will have exclusive rights to the system, which should be available by March, the company said.

Alandsbanken Abp, a Finnish bank, on Wednesday unveiled a similar initiative aimed at banks and financial institutions. The upgrade to its 2016 Aland Index is based on categories, though, rather than itemized shopping data.

Enfuce on Thursday announced it had secured 10 million euros ($11 million) of funding, half of it from early-stage venture capital company Maki.vc, and half comprised of venture debt from Nordea Bank Abp, LahiTapiola and Finnvera Oyj.

© 2019 Bloomberg L.P.

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So from now on this app will do the shopping. Maybe for the paranoid fins but definitely not for me!

Interesting article. But lets think further:

I initially thought (before reading whole article) what we all will be slammed for not taking up online-shopping (i.e. critising the method of shopping…instead of the actual choice of products)

I thought for a momemt, if “we all” can subscribe to online shopping, it will cut down on the CO2 from transport costs…..but what then about the CO2 from delivery companies taking up most of economy? Are we reducing CO2? Doubt it.

Then again, physical shopping is part of one’s societal, mental make-up. One’s R&R. Otherwise we’d go mental, and have to expend CO2 to get to your weekly shrink visit / or religious gathering, whatever helps to cope.

The issue of CO2 leaves another moral(?) dilemma. Those of us that call ourselves “nature lovers”, can be say we are climate-change sympahisers??
(…how much CO2 has it cost the earth when you travel with your loaded SUV/4×4 with heavy camping trailer in tow, to your favorite camp or hiking site…for you to ‘enjoy’ nature to the fullest? Or the CO2 from your flight to admire the Serengeti, or Yosemite Park, or Vietnam’s rice fields? We say we love nature, yet in getting to our nature destination, it has a damaging CO2 cost..)

This is a tough one, for me also. I really admire those innovative offroad camping trailers..

The first good use of big data I have seen.

We only win on climate change and general pollution by getting everyone involved and makes 1 small change a month.

Wish I could sign up for the App.

“An estimated 10 million payment cards are in use in Finland, a country of just 5.5 million people.” That is a lot of plastic added to their carbon footprint.

End of comments.

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