Consumer Interest Is Driving Blockchain Developments In Supply Chains

 

The 6th European Blockchain Convention featured an insightful conversation about how blockchain can support sustainable supply chains. The panel composed by Duncan Johnston-Watt, Daniela Barbosa, Garance Osternaud, Alberto Cozer and Pedro López agreed that consumers are driving blockchain development within this area. According to Garance Osternaud, Project Manager at Carrefour, the company has already 14 products on its blockchain that consumers can easily trace where the product came from, where the materials were sourced and so on.

Visual of Garance Osternaud, Alberto Cozer and Pedro López, Daniela Barbosa and Duncan Johnston-Watt at the 6th EBC

Improving supply chains has been one of the key use cases for blockchain for years. After years of experimenting, real use cases are coming up – for a company like Carrefour, it’s utilizing the DLT to aid with traceability and transparency. Duncan Johnston-Watt of Blockchain Technology Partners (BTP), an enterprise blockchain protocol providing businesses with a platform to explore new use cases, agrees that Blockchain’s two prominent features within supply chains have always been product traceability and transfer of ownership. He adds that it’s a foundational concept that applies to supply chains and multiple industries.

“Blockchain’s two prominent features within supply chains have always been product traceability and transfer of ownership” – Duncan Johnston-Watt, CEO & Founder at BTP

It’s never good news when a story breaks of a corporate having sourced supplies or having its production in areas known to exploit human labour. For this reason, consumers need to be assured they are not supporting a corporation that sells products made using child or slave labour. In the past, these organizations could pay to cover up and create fake reports on their supply chain practices without much means to find out the truth; however, with the emergence of immutable and transparent distributed ledger technology, it is now possible to track production from the initial point to the final consumer.


What Has Changed Over The Years

Commenting on what has changed over the past year given the onset of the pandemic and slowing down of economies, Daniela Barbosa of Hyperledger Foundation is excited to see some real use cases of blockchain come to supply chains that are reaching consumers, since a few years ago only a few pilots were going on and not many companies were keen on the technology.

 

Panel discussion Visual elaborated by EBC team

A recent Deloitte survey on global blockchain trends found out that about 81% of tech heads and executives interviewed agreed the technology was scalable and had achieved mainstream adoption. According to Barbosa, this kind of support from the top-level gives projects the momentum they need to innovate and come up with more use cases.

Barbosa adds that what is changing is that executives understand the tech is scalable and real and has a return on investment in the long run, even though it’s not cheap or easy to implement.
Most significantly, on the consumer level, they are demanding the tech.

“What is changing is that executives understand the tech is scalable and real and has a return on investment in the long run” – Daniela Barbosa, Executuve Director at Hyperledger Foundation

Another consumer-focused survey conducted in mid 2020 at the pandemic’s peak, when people found themselves locked up found that 45% of consumers were more interested in purchasing products that they could track sustainably. When these factors come together, you start to see the maturation of the market and the technology, and this is quite exciting.

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Published January 13th,  2022, Barcelona

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