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Selection of Vendors and Products Based on Environmental Profiles and Feedback

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000176873D
Original Publication Date: 2008-Nov-26
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2008-Nov-26
Document File: 2 page(s) / 22K

Publishing Venue

IBM

Abstract

The proposed invention is a method and system for allowing potential consumers of products and services to conveniently make environmental impact comparisons between products and services for sale or auction. Users may have a profile that specifies the environmental impact considerations the user prefers. Considerations include packaging, energy used to prepare an item for shipment, etcetera. Users may also provide feedback related to the environmental impact of products and how they were shipped. This invention is useful for both consumers, stores, and other parties concerned with environmental stewardship. Moreover, the present invention describes a method whereby customers update a service with information describing the packaging of received items -- from which environmental impact values may be derived for future shipments. Thus, the system in present invention describes a system that utilizes customer participation and feedback. Additionally, in the proposed invention, the system includes user participation via user preferences and profiles that are integral in the search functions described. Profiles evolve and may be exchanged with others users. The user's profile (e.g. in the form of a data file) may be shared so that others may use the same profile. Profiles may be created by companies, clubs, associations, or governments. Profiles may automatically evolve through time so that, for example, carbon offset requirements become more stringent two years in the future. Profiles may also be generated and change according to prevailing market and environmental conditions.

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Selection of Vendors and Products Based on Environmental Profiles and Feedback

The following are example steps for one embodiment of this invention.

Steps

1. The user browses to a web page that searches for products across multiple vendors or a auction site that list the same product from multiple vendors
2. System reads user's profile (via browser cookies or a third party service)
3. System offers environmental comparisons and products based on user profile
4. System accepts user feedback to verify the environmental impact claims of vendors

Proposed is a system and method in which a user may search across multiple vendors of a product/service and receive not only a price comparison (which is known in the art), but an environmental impact comparison. Vendors may include retail stores on the web or auction web sites. The environmental impact value for each vendor includes but is not limited to: shipping distance, packaging (percentage recycled), power used to package items (by hand or automated), power usage time - some vendors may package things at night when power is created and put on the grid but not fully consumed, recyclability of entire product, presence of heavy metals in product, the use of low-power data centers associated with product distribution, and carbon footprint (which is related to some of the stated parameters). It is expected that merchants who participate in this service would provide this information to the service.

In other embodiments, customers who receive products from a merchant may update a service with information about how an item was packaged from which environmental impact value may be derived for future shipments. Furthermore, the environmental impact value may be tailored for each individual user, some users may value not using petroleum products while others may value not using tree products. The user can set the preference in the proposed inventive vendor search engine and all searches and vendor environmental impact calculations include the user's preferences.

A user may have a profile (e.g., a data by a third party service) that specifies the environmental impacts most important to the user. This profile may be shared with friends so they may use the same profile. Profiles may be created by companies, clubs, associations, or governments. Profiles may automatically evolve through time so that, for example, carbon offset requirements become more stringent two years in the future. Profiles may also be generated and chang...