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Comparison of alternative platforms

Introduction

Viridian aims to develop a platform that allows decentralized collection of information for assessing and comparing the sustainability performance of products, which can be used as a foundation for a sustainable economy.

There are other initiatives that share various of Viridian’s concepts or principles. Below, three illustrations of such initiatives are given, including a brief description how these initiatives are like – or differ from – Viridian.

Comparison of similar initiatives

Questionmark

Questionmark aims to develop an independent platform that informs consumers regarding the nutritional and sustainability dimensions of food products. It contains a large database of over 50,000 product labels. Questionmark works together with various partners to secure scientific support, reliability of data, healthy diet guidelines, measuring the sustainability of consumer products, and accommodate stakeholder dialogues.

Pros:
  • Large database of products
  • Developed app to scan barcodes
  • Provides scores on products and displays alternatives, including were these can be purchased
Cons:
  • Centralized platform
  • Limited interactive community-based involvement
  • Limited assessment of sustainability (the existing simplistic approach of assessing the sustainability of products is currently under development to provide a better scientific foundation)
  • Only food products covered

WikiRate

WikiRate is an open and collaborative tool for addressing concerns about corporate impacts (Corporate Social Responsibility, CSR). The aim of WikiRate is to guide companies to address environmental, social and governance concerns, by means of crowd-based collection of information, comprehensive structuring of data, as well as through developing standardized metrics that can be used to assess the performance of companies. The development of WikiRate is supported by the European Commission.

Pros:
  • Largest openly accessible and editable database for company information related to sustainability development goals, supply chains and existing legislative frameworks
  • Data on >30,000 companies. Has many user-contributed environmental and social metrics.
Cons:
  • No product data
  • Data is not aggregated into company performance scores

Kompass Nachhaltigkeit

The platform “Kompass Nachhaltigkeit” (“The Sustainability Compass”) offers a wide range of information on sustainable public procurement. Information contained within the platform include sustainability standards and certification schemes, labelled products, legislation and legal frameworks at federal and state level, as well as information on best practices, guidelines and directives. Kompass-nachhaltigkeit is a cooperation project of GIZ (Deutsche Gesellschaft für internationale Zusammenarbeit) and Engagement Global; its development is supported by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development.

Pros:
  • Detailed information on labels, including a large amount of sustainability criteria
  • Many product groups covered
  • Interactive map that displays regional and local initiatives
  • Comprehensive collection of data for driving sustainable procurement processes
Cons:
  • Labels on the platform do not cover the complete spectrum of sustainable production (e.g. no food labels, no climate criteria)
  • Mainly informative, with limited user-interactivity
  • Platform still in development

Conclusion

Although many of the identified initiatives share some of the key characteristics of Viridian – like crowd-based intelligence, product sustainability assessment and decentralized database management – none of these initiatives have so far been able to combine such features into a single product. As such, Viridian can address an important gap in the landscape of a sustainable economy, through providing an independent, interactive and reliable platform for all who want to make well-informed consumer decisions based on the sustainability performance of products. Many data from existing platforms can be integrated and complement Viridian.