WWF backs blockchain app for tracking food supply chains

8th Feb 2019

Here at FreedomNews, we’ve reported previously on the potential for blockchain in a number of different areas. The technology is still largely associated with cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, but it can also be used to track and manage supply chains.

Back in 2016, Walmart announced that it would trial a blockchain system to track its pork production supply chain in China, and last year it added spinach and lettuce production.

Now, prestigious international non-governmental organisation the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) has lent its backing to a blockchain-based platform that can allow environmentally conscious and ethically concerned consumers to track the food on their plate right from its source to the store from which they buy it.

Blockchain can help tackle environmental and social issues
WWF-Australia’s CEO Dermot O’Gorman said: ‘We will have 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.’

The platform, called OpenSC, lets the user scan QR codes on their products and view the product’s journey using an app. The hope is that not only individual consumers but also businesses, industry and even governments can use this or similar technology in order to make more informed decisions.

The platform has been funded by BCG Digital Ventures, and Paul Hunyor, who runs the company’s Asia operations, said: ‘Traceability is the biggest trend in global retail, supply chain operations, and conservation right now. These innovations have the potential to be good for the planet and humanity, but also good for business, and therefore to produce healthy financial returns for investors.’

Fishing company one of the first to adopt the technology
One of the first companies to adopt the system is the Australian fishing company Austral Fisheries. Based in Perth, it’s known for its ocean-caught prawns, Patagonian toothfish and Mackerel icefish. It has committed to rolling out the platform across its entire deep-sea fleet this year.

A caught fish would be tagged with an RFID tag and the boat would record its location and time. Data would be updated as the fish takes its journey to shore, via a processing plant to a restaurant or store, meaning that consumers will be able to track the product from ocean to plate.