RFID Journal writes about RFID sustainability study

How to measure RFID’s positive and negative impacts on the planet? The RFID Journal has recently published a detailed article about the research conducted by RFID Lab in collaboration with Michigan State University on RFID and environmental sustainability.

The joint research focused on analysing RFID deployments’ environmental benefits and on developing a tool to measure the technology’s positive and negative impact on the environment in a given application.

The tool developed and named E-ROI measures the negative impacts of the RFID system (tag materials, emission and waste related to the production of the tags, the transportation of the tags etc) and compares them with the positive impacts related to the benefits obtained by the single RFID deployment (such as reduced shrinkage and losses, decreased transportation caused by errors and stock reduction and improved rates of reuse or recycling).

The research team, led by Prof. Bahar Aliakbarian from Michigan State University and Prof. Giuseppe Vignali and Prof. Antonio Rizzi from RFID Lab explained to RFID Journal how the research is general-purpose, although the tool was tested on two sample products in the healthcare industry – pharmaceuticals and medical devices. In the two test cases significant benefits were found based on reduced carbon emissions (measured in the form of trees).

Tool E-ROI applicable for any RFID application

The RFID Journal stresses how RFID technology has long been assumed to benefit the environment by making supply chains more transparent, efficient, and error-free, but that no shared way of measuring was available. How to measure the impact of the technology was in fact left up to the individual user.

The tool E-ROI is developed so any company can calculate and evaluate the technology’s environmental impacts (positive and negative) in a specific project/ deployment. The framework is designed so any industry, product, and supply chain can be applied to assess the global warming impact of tons of carbon dioxide side effects—and to do so in the form of trees.

Study brings clarity to RFID’s role in improving sustainability

In this way, the researchers explained to RFID Journal, the study will bring clarity to the role RFID plays in improving sustainability while also providing users with a tool that can help them find out how much the technology will benefit or impact the planet if deployed for their specific application.

The research team is currently engaging with companies and tag manufacturers to include other types of products in their testing, in order to further validate the tool.

The first results of the research program, that was funded by Murata ID Solutions, were presented in May 2023 during a conference held at the University of Parma. Read more here >