Mhlnews 10959 Circular Supply Chain 1 1

Increasing the Fairness of the Global Supply Chain

Feb. 26, 2019
A circular supply chain capability leveraging blockchain, digital identity and payments technologies is introduced.

Two-thirds of consumers want to buy sustainable brands. Connecting those consumers with small-scale suppliers at the base of the supply chain pyramid has been difficult.

Accenture, along with some partners, announced a solution to this on Feb. 25 by providing a circular supply chain capability. The circular supply chain capability will combine blockchain, digital identity and payments technologies to allow customers to identify individual producers who use sustainable methods and financially reward them with a “tip” made by direct payment.Accenture is working with Mastercard, Amazon Web Services, Everledger and Mercy Corps.

In addition to empowering customers and connecting them with small-scale producers, the capability is designed to enable producers, manufacturers and retailers to better manage their inventory and reduce waste; creates better transparency across the supply chain; ensures the authenticity of produce; and provides producers with more-equitable compensation for their produce by enabling consumers to reward them directly.

“Our identity capabilities are already empowering millions of users around the globe to access essential services like healthcare, banking and travel," said David Treat, a managing director and global blockchain lead at Accenture. "Our circular supply chain capability combines these components with blockchain and expands its application to places and things, which is allowing us to rethink global supply chains. Through effective public and private partnerships, we can place sustainability and customer empowerment at the heart of global business models and we invite more partners to join us.” 

Digital identity is a critical enabler of the offering. Through each producer’s unique digital identifier, data about the “first mile” of their goods is established and linked to their products as they move through the supply chain. End consumers, through a simple scan of a label, can access details of the product and further, can be empowered to direct a secure “tip”.

Tara Nathan, executive vice president, humanitarian & development at Mastercard, commented: “For the 3.4 billion people — almost half the world’s population — that still struggle to meet basic needs, we believe that digital technologies are largely untapped. To put more people onto the path from poverty to prosperity, we need to create an ecosystem that streamlines access to education, health, commerce, and more. Through our work with smallholder farmers in Kenya, India, Mexico and elsewhere, we’ve deployed digital solutions helping to drive commercially sustainable social impact — and we understand that collaboration is essential for this journey.”

With the use of distributed ledger solutions, the circular supply chain capability could benefit large global enterprises, governments and non-governmental organizations by providing a new mechanism for them to track complex supply chains to small originating producers and helping them manage issues relating to accountability, waste and information transparency.

Leanne Kemp, Everledger’s CEO said: “Our blockchain-enabled work aims to facilitate more connected, transparent and sustainable supply chains, which bring about trusted collaborations among stakeholders. Being a part of the circular supply chain capability with Accenture is a showcase example of ‘conscious consumerism.’ Everledger’s provenance platform ensures supply chain integrity alongside a global movement to drive the agenda on sustainability and reimagine tomorrow’s marketplaces.”