January 2019 saw the launch of a new tracking platform, developed by WWF and BCG Digital Ventures, called OpenSC. It uses product QR (Quick Response) codes that consumers can scan with a smartphone to automatically display information revealing a product’s full transportation history and supply chain. The initial focus is on food (currently fish and beef) but expansion plans are in the pipeline for other commodities such as palm oil and wood.
Technologies such as these promise to shine a light on supply chains through providing revolutionary levels of transparency to consumers. However, technology used to create transparency for transparency’s sake will not necessarily provide the desired outcomes. Nestlé placed QR codes on its Kit-Kats back in 2014 but was this was slow to catch on with other product ranges and across the wider industry.
What’s truly critical is that this greater visibility afforded through technology leads to action, for both corporates and consumers.
Read more: A new partnership between Italian agricultural group Coldiretti and international food and drink firm, Princes, uses blockchain to guarantee farmers that work in line with sustainability standards three-year supply contracts plus access to a ring-fenced grant scheme.