GS1 is a non-profit organisation that develops the most trusted standards for communication between businesses worldwide. In Italy, GS1 Italy gathers 40,000 active ventures in all of the main industry sectors.
For "Barcode 4 Environment," a prototype of a mobile web app was commissioned to convey sustainability information to users directly through product labels. The data published by companies are sourced and rigorously verified through analysis and oversight conducted by the Sant’Anna School of Advanced Studies to ensure accuracy.
The most relevant sustainability parameters obtained from LCA studies, are made available through the use of the barcode or QR code containing a GS1 Digital Link printed on product packaging: scanning them gives access to the information sought about each specific product.
The new GS1 Digital Link is a web address with a standard structure, containing a GS1 product identification code, such as the GTIN, and enabling Internet links to all kinds of information, including, of course, environmental information. It is also represented as a QR code, so it can be easily scanned by a smartphone camera.
Main technical activities
The study of the material conducted by the University and the definition of impacts were carried out.
First, tests were conducted on the correct reading of barcodes and QR codes containing a GS1 Digital Link with the GTIN or product identification code.
On the Design side, Wireframe, Mockup and a Figma prototype were produced, followed by the creation of the app icon. The prototype of the mobile app was then developed and tested by the University and the GS1 Italy team on some sample products.
Today, the app allows users to scan a QR code (or barcode) on a product's packaging and learn about its sustainability attributes, such as environmental impacts and benefits, as well as packaging recycling information. It is currently being used as a demonstration of how companies can use GS1 standards to communicate information about the life cycle of their products, free of charge.