Today digital technologies are
transforming the supply chain, benefiting everyone from
small farmers in Africa to buyers of diamond rings. For smallholders in
developing countries the inability to hold a
record of transactions often makes it impossible to get good
access to credit, exposing them to predatory lenders. But blockchain technology
might improve this situation. In Zambia, software company BenQ
has joined drinks company AB InBev to give cassava and
barley farmers a record which is accessible by mobile phone of
all the sales to their company. This enables them to
build a history, which in turn lets them secure
loans and win contracts. Digital technology can
also allow corporate buyers and consumers to discover
more about the sustainability and the ethics of
their purchases. If a ledger uses blockchain
sensors and scanning technologies to track
and authenticate the origin of seven
types of valuable assets, including diamonds,
wine, and works of art. The company uses
a digital ledger to see the assets at every
stage in the supply chain. And works with
certification houses to give assets,
such as diamonds, and each diamond is as
unique as a snowflake, a digital thumbprint
or authentication. Meanwhile, IBM’s
Food Trust initiative uses the internet of things,
artificial intelligence and blockchain to capture
and share information along the supply chain. This can reduce food waste and
quickly identify the source of any contamination. And means recalls are
much easier to manage. And to tackle problems
such as deforestation, the sustainability
consultancy South Pole taps into a range of tools, including
big data and satellite mapping. The company can
assist climate risk and how the activities of
companies, governments, and others are affecting
the world’s forests. The goal is then to reduce
the carbon footprint of their supply chains. One digital technology at
a time, the supply chain is becoming ever more
efficient and transparent.