IBM Developer Blog

Follow the latest happenings with IBM Developer and stay in the know.

A Call for Code global finalist from Canada seeks to reduce the carbon footprint from online shopping.


Offship is the 4th runner up in the 2020 Call for Code Global Challenge and will receive $10K.

Did those last minute holiday gifts you rush-shipped make it in time? How about that impulse purchase from your favorite retailer that you wanted on your doorstep in two days? While shipping companies keep up with the demand and incentivize the market with more efficient and affordable services, attention is rarely placed on who actually suffers the brunt of these simple clicks, the environment.

With online shopping growing in popularity, consumers are now using this as their primary method of purchasing goods. This rise in popularity, paired with the onset of COVID-19 that’s keeping everyone at home, has made online shopping even more essential and depended upon. This has rippling effects on the environment as carbon-based combustion grows in concert. Online shopping can be an effortless and fun act for the buyer, but its increased heavy usage calls for a reality check in regards to what it is doing to the world around us.

OffShip is that reality check. By using IBM® Cloud and other technologies, OffShip is a browser extension that monitors items in your shopping basket and estimates their carbon footprint based on the weight and distance traveled. This Call for Code global finalist solution offers you the chance to counteract the carbon footprint using carbon offset credits to a charity of your choice. The solution comes from a Canadian team working at Morgan Stanley, where they discovered that as of 2018, 84% of Canadian internet users had purchased goods or services online. Through their research, they also found that online shopping is more prevalent among younger generations, with some outside projections forecasting that by 2024, the e-commerce market will reach $6.07 trillion USD. This puts even more stress on transportation operations and subsequent environmental impacts that already account for 28% of total greenhouse gas emissions in the United States today, per OffShip’s research.

The OffShip team is making it easier than ever to be in touch with the environment and guide you on the proper steps to help preserve it. We only get one world, and we must do everything we can to treat it the right way. OffShip remains determined to lessen the carbon footprint of online shoppers, one purchase at a time.

Ready to get take action yourself? Get involved and contribute to an open source project of your choice today!