WWF-Australia and BCG Digital
Ventures are launching a revolutionary new digital platform that uses
blockchain and other technologies to track food and products, and helps people and
business to avoid illegal, environmentally-damaging or unethical products.
The global platform, titled
OpenSC, enables anyone to scan product QR codes with a smartphone camera, which
automatically takes them to information about where a specific product came from,
when and how it was produced, and how it journeyed along the supply chain.
OpenSC enables businesses
to track their products, such as food and tissue paper, by attaching to
products a digital tag (such as an RFID tag) at their original point of
production and linking these to a blockchain platform. The blockchain, which
cannot be tampered with, records the movement of the product and can also store
additional information, such as the temperature of food in storage.
“Through OpenSC, businesses
and consumers will have a whole new level of transparency about whether the
food we eat is contributing to environmental degradation or social injustice
such as slavery,” said WWF-Australia CEO Dermot O’Gorman.
“OpenSC is fantastic for
businesses that are committed to sustainable and ethical operations. In
addition to providing transparency about the origin of an item’s production,
OpenSC helps optimise business supply chain operations, reduces costs, and
enables producers to manage issues such as product recalls,” said BCGDV
Managing Director and Co-Chair of the World Economic Forum Council on the
Future of Consumption, Paul Hunyor.
OpenSC is being announced
at an event at the top-tier Sydney restaurant Aria by Australian chef Matt
Moran. He is cooking one of the first
products to be tracked using OpenSC – Patagonian toothfish – which were caught in
sub-Antarctic waters by Austral Fisheries, one of Australia’s largest fishing
companies, and sent to thirteen countries around the world*.
“We have developed technology that can
reliably pinpoint the exact location where each Austral Toothfish was caught
and then use machine learning to demonstrate that it was caught legally in an
MSC-certified sustainable fishery*, and in particular that the fish was not
caught inside an established marine protected area or in an environmentally
sensitive area,” said Mr Hunyor.
“OpenSC will revolutionise
how we all buy food and other products, enabling us to reduce pressure on
habitats and species, while also protecting human rights, and enabling more
informed decision-making by consumers, businesses, governments and industry
bodies,” said Mr O’Gorman.
OpenSC was developed
through a series of successful pilots with a number of WWF’s corporate partners
including with Australian supermarket, Woolworths. “Woolworths has been working
with OpenSC to pilot this innovative technology as part of our ongoing
commitment to deliver quality, fresh and sustainable products to our
customers.” says Alex Holt, General Manager of Quality, Health and
Sustainability at Woolworths Group.
OpenSC is available to all
businesses that are looking to demonstrate that their products were produced in
environmentally-friendly or ethical ways.
“We’ve designed this
technology to be highly compatible both with existing supply chain operations and
certification systems, but also to interface with other Blockchain enabled
providence solutions. It is exciting
that producers who are ready to provide transparency to their customers can be
on OpenSC in a very short timeframe,” said Mr Hunyor.
OpenSC has been launched following
an award-winning pilot by WWF and its partners that used blockchain to track
tuna caught in the Pacific. It draws on 30 years of WWF’s leadership in supply
chain transformations to improve environment outcomes and BCGDV’s expertise in
developing blockchain-enabled supply chain traceability and launching
“We are launching one of
the world’s first “profit with purpose” start-ups that uses blockchain to help
achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). OpenSC does this by using cutting-edge
technology to help stamp out unscrupulous operators who fish in illegal areas,
bulldoze virgin forests, or engage in slave labour,” Mr O’Gorman said.
OpenSC-tracked produce will
be served to business leaders at the World Economic Forum in Davos on 24
January by WWF Director General Marco Lambertini and BCGDV CEO Stefan Gross-Selbeck. This will enable business leaders to sit down
for a meal at Davos and have full transparency of where their food has come
*Additional information about Austral Fisheries and its Patagonian Toothfish Operations is here.
**MSC = Marine Stewardship Council, the world’s leading fishery certification program.