January 22, 2019

Blockchain Platform Promotes Sustainable Food Supply Chains

News Source: SDG Knowledge Hub

Author(s): Catherine Benson Wahlén

17 January 2019: The World Wildlife Fund (WWF), in partnership with BCG Digital Ventures, announced a blockchain platform to track food sustainability. The technology aims to help consumers and businesses understand whether their products were produced sustainably and avoid environmentally damaging, illegal or unethical products.

Using the OpenSC technology, individuals can track products from their origin to the consumer. Businesses can add a unique blockchain code at the product’s point of origin, which can then be used to track products as they move through the supply chain. Consumers can then use their smartphones to scan the product’s QR code, which enables consumers to learn where the product comes from, how it was produced and how it traveled to the consumer.

WWF piloted the technology to track tuna caught in the Pacific ocean. When a fish is caught at sea, for instance, it is given an digital, or “RFID,” tag. Machine learning then utilizes the fish’s GPS location to verify that the fish was caught in a legal fishing area. Then, the RFID tag is converted to a unique QR code for each piece of the fish. WWF plans to use the technology to track Patagonian catfish. Other applications include tracking products such as tissue paper to verify if the paper comes from a sustainably managed forest.

OpenSC is a game-changer that massively increasees transparency and accountability.

OpenSC also helps businesses optimize their supply chain operations and reduce costs by providing information about the temperature of food in storage. This information can help producers manage product recalls and other issues, facilitating more informed decision making.

WWF International Director-General, Marco Lambertini, described OpenSC as a “game-changer” that “massively increase[es] transparency and accountability.” WWF Australia CEO, Dermot O’Gorman, explained that Open SC provides “a whole new level of transparency about whether the food we eat is contributing to environmental degradation of habitats and species, as well as social injustice and human rights issues such as slavery.” O’Gorman said this technology will “revolutionize” how individuals buy food and other products by enabling consumers to make more informed decisions.

Blockchain technology is a digital technology that is accessible to everyone and is a tamper-proof record of information. The OpenSC technology is used by a number of companies to promote sustainability throughout food value chains. The World Economic Forum (WEF) plans to serve OpenSC-tracked produce to business leaders, facilitating transparency of where their meal comes from.