BLOCKCHAIN GAINED MAJOR TRACTION in 2018 as corporations like Walmart incorporated peer-to-peer data systems in their supply chains, the Canadian government held discussions on the technology’s potential use in trade, finance, and healthcare, and blockchain conferences skyrocketed around the world as countries took an increasing interest in leveraging its benefits.
Halifax’s Peer Ledger saw similar momentum. The responsible sourcing company forged a milestone agreement with Switzerland’s PAMP, one of the world’s leading bullion groups, and launched its flagship application Mimosi after more than two years of testing. Using blockchain to perform sophisticated provenance, track-and-trace and transparency operations, Mimosi provides a permanent trail of all transactions that occur throughout the supply chain, allowing companies to deliver improved transparency in real time.
Mimosi expanded Peer Ledger’s reach beyond the precious metal industry to include solutions for agriculture, pharmaceuticals, healthcare and the automotive industries, and that’s just for starters. “There are some real business problems that it can tackle,” says Dr. Dawn Jutla, Peer Ledger’s founder and president. She says only 15 per cent of companies have complete supply chain visibility in their tier one and two suppliers. For tier three suppliers, this percentage shrinks to about six per cent.
“What this means is that almost zero per cent of organizations have complete visibility into the sustainability risks in their supply chains, including HR risks around modern slavery and child labour. There are also risks for banks financing these operations and movements of materials. Blockchain, and our Mimosi application in particular, was designed to head off those risks. By giving visibility into the entire supply chain, we allow companies to manage risk better and we think that companies can use responsible sourcing claims to actually increase revenue and market share.”
Mimosi allows clients to visualize dependencies and risks in seconds and act quickly to manage them. It also lets them retrieve transactions for audit evidence and obtain valid responsible sourcing claims. It uses four types of traces—geo, supply, product and transaction—each with an upstream (backward to source) and downstream (forward to product) component. In the case of an agricultural product, for example, the geo trace would provide country and location of origin, and all geographical points the product encounters along the supply chain. Supply trace tracks each supplier along the chain of custody from the farm to the grocery store, and product trace can follow the transfer of products from multiple farms that are aggregated by a single processor and then packaged and sold to grocery stores. Transaction trace provides a record of all business transactions that occur along the chain. Data info is entered by scanning RFID or NFC tags, barcodes, or QR codes, and there is an additional option to attach digital documents such as delivery invoices.
As blockchain is tamper resistant and cryptographically secured, its use can aid in faster product recall, the prevention of counterfeit materials and stronger data protection, to name a few benefits. Peer Ledger sees blockchain not only as a means for streamlining and securing a company’s operations but as a technology with the potential for significant social impact. Mimosi can help companies reach their sustainability goals, says Dr. Jutla, and has positive implications for human and worker rights, safety and environmental management.
“Often international companies work in very distant locations, and their head office doesn’t have that visibility into what’s happening in the communities there. There was a ruling last year in B.C. which allowed people from these remote locations to sue in Canadian courts. Additionally, I believe our parliament is considering following the U.K., Australia and New Zealand in passing regulations around modern slavery. This will affect every supply chain from chocolates to metals so getting that visibility with tools like Mimosi will help companies in the long run, and it’s been proven that socially responsible companies actually make more money in the market.” |nrm