Carbon-neutral shopping

This project is exploring the possibility of Waitrose giving its customers some way to shop without being responsible for carbon emissions. Such an offering might take multiple forms, for instance a carbonoffset sub-brand of Waitrose, a carbonneutral aisle, or a certification which identifies certain products as net zero/carbon offset. Ultimately the report should outline what an optimum solution might look like that both educates consumers about the quantities of greenhouse gases emitted in the production of different goodsand also gives them the opportunity to offset those emissions. 


Henry Flatley – Geography with Innovation


As cities and nations across the world are declaring climate emergencies and setting target dates for carbon-neutrality, there is increasing demand for environmentally responsible products. Different products have a wide range of impacts in terms of greenhouse gas emissions depending on how they are produced and transported, yet, there is very little information on the impact of different products, and very little with consumers can do to reliably offset their impact.  


With exploration from supermarket ethnography, as well as desk research and conversations with Waitrose shoppers, a range of prototypes will be developed. Subsequently these prototypes will be tested and adjusted with a wide range of users, ultimately deciding justifying why Waitrose should or should not adopt each of the options.  


Demand for environmentally friendly products is increasing rapidly across all markets. Waitrose customers like to feel good about the items they are purchasing, and many have enough disposable income to be able to make more sustainable choices. Environmentally conscious consumers are already paying more for goods which emit fewer greenhouse gases, and many would like the opportunity to do so when buying supermarket products. 


As the UK moves towards a carbon-neutral goal of 2050, dramatic changes will be necessary in order to break the carbon-driven system we currently operate in. Ideas like this are an essential first step if supermarkets, and the whole population, are to take the climate crisis seriously. Hopefully, the report produced on this topic will provide valuable insights which encourages supermarkets like Waitrose to start considering their carbon impact, as well as to provide consumers the opportunity to offset it.