Consumers are looking for more sustainable options when they shop, whether it's for shoes, cars or travel options and companies are feeling more pressure to provide the environmental footprint of what they're selling. For smaller businesses, it may be too expensive to hire a developer to add that information to a website.
Brighter Planet, an award-winning technology company focusing on apps and sustainability web tools for businesses and consumers, has developed a tool that allows any website to display the carbon and energy footprint of products or services by simply inserting one line of code and without having to modify the site. Brighter Planet provides the website owner with a unique line of code and the webmaster then inputs where to find details on the webpage about the product. Once the tool is enabled, the program lifts that product information from the website and feeds it to a server that calculates the carbon footprint and inserts it in the page in real time.
The tool, called Prospect, can allow travel websites to display the carbon footprint and fuel consumption of different transportation options for a trip. A car dealer's website would show the carbon footprint, fuel consumption and fuel costs of any make and model. Retail sites could show the carbon footprint of products and shipping methods.
Brighter Planet's tools, including Prospect, are based on the computational platform it developed called CM1 that calculates carbon, energy, and resource impacts of a variety of emission sources like cars, diet, electricity use, pets, air travel, purchases, and residences, among others. CM1 culls data from a whole host of sources on a daily basis to inform its calculations and Brighter Planet makes those sources public here so users can see exactly where it's getting its numbers.
This type of visibility benefits both the companies and the consumers. Companies can monitor their customer's choices and add information about carbon or resource reductions to their sustainability reports, while consumers can easily identify products or services with the smallest environmental impact when making buying decisions.