Mining Loyalty Card Data for the environment and your health.

An hour or so on our last day at Nokia open labs 08 was taken up with the Green workshop, we got a chance to see some cool videos made by companies trying to make going green more fun than it is right now. We also saw a video for Carrotmob, a group forcing and changing the environmental strategy of businesses.

However, during one of the conversations, the guy from Nokia that had joined us, briefly described a program in Finland where a company was taking the shopping receipt from people and giving them back a health status, how many vitamins they had consumed for example, I’m sure there was a little more to it than that, but I can’t find the service via Google for any more information.

What dawned on me, was that the loyalty card data that big companies like Tesco and Sainsbury’s etc hold, has m0re information than a simple receipt and thus could potentially be much more valuable. That information must be able to show us how healthy we are and also how green we are.  By getting at this data we can see which products we are buying and therefore plot how green we are, how many locally produced vegetables did we buy versus how many that have traveled thousands of miles.

This data source I’m sure could provide much more than just how green or how healthy we are, but that’s two uses for the data that could have a positive impact on our lives. The next question is how do we get Tesco’s and Sainsburys to let a third party gain access to that data. There must be a business model in there somewhere, a new service partnered with the retailer, for example.

2 thoughts on “Mining Loyalty Card Data for the environment and your health.

  1. Rob, that’s a great idea. Not least of all because it would start to push the companies to acknowledge which products they have that deserve a negative rating on an eco score… could also be done for fair trade… I think the problem anyone pushing for this would come across is that most supermarkets are happy to up-sell eco/fairtrade/local produce as a premium product, but get deciedly cagey whenever anyone calls them out for stocking the stuff that’s polluting, made in sweatshops, shipped thousands of miles, irradiated etc…

    But I think it’s an idea definitely worth running with, if you can find one supermarket who’d be willing to adopt a version of it.

    It reminds me of the world of a group who I think were called the Social Audit Commission, who did voluntary audits of big businesses for everything other than profitability. I think it was Shell who submitted themselves to a Social Audit, knowing they’d fail miserably, but also knowing they’d get a whole bunch of clear and mapped out action points for putting their house in order.

    It’s why I was so keen to give Nokia a bit of a kicking in the last session – the set up was all about Nokia products and platforms enabling and empowering eco-monkeys to collectivize their activism. What they didn’t talk about was their own corporate responsibility and the utter heinousness of the business model of mobile phone companies in the UK, to try and get everyone to trade in their phone every 12-18 months… So we listed a whole load of things that they could do to help start to change that culture, and I pointed out that in the ‘Reduce, Reuse, Recycle’ 3Rs list, Recycle comes last for a reason – the first two are the place to start, Recycle is really a past resort, now that the tech-landfill is already way way way too large.

    Great post. 🙂

  2. I spent a short time working for a company who were perfecting a behaviour engine. We used loyalty card data as the first major testing and generated user stories etc.

    The data itself is huge, the reason you only get reward vouchers from Tesco every three months is because that’s how long it takes to mine the data. Sainsbury weren’t even close to that, they were sitting on data they couldn’t do anything with.

    There’s a good chance your proposed idea has already been done. I’d love to see a open set of data myself, the stuff I saw with in 2004 so things will have moved on. I can’t see anyone letting go of proper data soon, it’s customer currency to the retailers, worth it’s weight in gold.


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