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World first: revolutionary blockchain platform empowers all to track environmental and ethical impact of food and products

17 Jan 2019

Keywords
  • corporate partnerships
  • farming
  • fisheries
  • food production
  • innovation
  • technology

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 innovative start-ups.

 

“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 from.

 

*Additional information about Austral Fisheries and its Patagonian Toothfish Operations is here.

 

**MSC = Marine Stewardship Council, the world’s leading fishery certification program.

 

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