Using technology to move towards a sustainable future should be the short term and long term goal for any business in any country. As the COP 27 held by United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in 2022 set the target of limiting global temperature increase to “ well below” 2 degree Celsius (as the 2015 Paris agreement), and to pursue efforts to limit it at 1.5 degree Celsius, businesses across the globe should adopt sustainable business practices to meet this target.
Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) as an AIDC technology can help with that. From using environment friendly tags and labels to preventing product damages (tracking expiration dates, misplacement etc.), RFID can be used to help businesses adopt sustainable practices that minimize environmental damage.
It is a known fact that you need approximately 2500 liters of water to produce 1 kg of rough rice and to allow it to go to waste, in a retail store, is simply not good enough.
RAIN RFID for sustainability:
RAIN RFID as the name suggests points to its uses of cloud services for data storing needs. RAIN is an acronym derived from RAdio frequency IdentificatioN (RFID).
RAIN RFID is also an alliance like NFC forum to promote global use of UHF RFID technology. Google, Intel, Impinj, SmarTrac are some of the RAIN alliance members that now stand at 160 members.
Many RFID tags are built using polyester, metal and plastic but RFID paper tags can be used to help reduce the carbon footprint. Imagine using millions of plastic RFID tags in big businesses like Walmart, Zara, target, Macy’s , this will have an adverse effect on sustainability for sure.
Aileen Ryan, RAIN alliance president, says, “Sustainability – minimizing carbon emissions and waste – is a high and increasing priority for supply chain initiatives across most industries, and RAIN has a significant role to play there”.
RAIN RFID tags are UHF tags that don’t need batteries. Batteries that power active RFID (tags) system leave a huge carbon footprint and are unsustainable in long run. Use of UHF passive RFID can be a big help in that context.
RFID for reducing wastage in FMCG (FAST MOVING CONSUMER GOODS)
Product expiration or wastage in FMCG is a huge problem for obvious reasons, environmental unfriendly being one of them. Since FMCG products have short lives, it becomes absolutely important to improve total visibility of items inside the store and in warehouse as well.
RFID labels can be used on products, packages to keep track of availability and the expiration date in order to clear stock in a timely manner. Sales days and discounts can be used to clear stock of item that are about to go bad, unsuitable for consumption. Greater visibility can also be assigned to such items.
RFID for a sustainable supply chain operation:
After retail, supply chain is the largest employer of RFID technology. People and businesses want their products on time. They want visibility of their products throughout the transit and they don’t want their products to be damaged.
Environment friendly RFID tags can be used for such large supply chain operations but that is not all. RFID can also be used to prevent product damages. With greater visibility, that comes from tracking RFID tagged items, means can be adopted to prevent such cases where products are damaged in transit or in warehouses.
Using RFID, packages that are prone to damage can be made more accessible and visible, allowing people to be more careful with such packages/products.
RFID can also replace old ways of tracking and identifying items, providing a single, versatile, simple instrument that doesn’t use environment damaging means, paving the way for more sustainable future.