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new software to make it easy to offset online purchases

Online shopping application allows customers to make small contribution to emission reduction projects.

A US startup has this month launched a new free service designed to make it far easier for online retailers to offer customers the opportunity to offset some of the emissions associated with their purchases.

Rather than requiring online retailers to invest in complex carbon calculators, the new ShopGreen application from California-based GreenWorld simply integrates with US eCommerce sites and allows customers to make a contribution equivalent to one per cent of their order towards the purchase of carbon offsets when they reach the online checkout.

The carbon credits are provided by offset specialist EcoSecurities, while the customisable web application allows either the online retailer or the customer to select the type of project they wish to fund and then track the progress of the emission reduction project.

"ShopGreen removes the cost and complexity of creating and managing a carbon offset program for US-based online retailers," said Jason Sperling, managing director at GreenWorld. "Additionally, the program's transparency and automation increase the relevancy, participation, and cost-effectiveness of the program."

The company said that the new application will integrate "seamlessly within any shopping cart", making it easy for customers to offset some of the emissions associated with their purchase.

It added that 14 online retailers had deployed the beta version of the application since its launch in March, and that it was now talking to a number of firms across a range of sectors about deploying the technology.

Sperling said that the application was currently only available in the US and in English, but he added that plans were underway to expand into non-US markets.

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