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= a platform for researching, optimizing and sharing the supply chains behind a number of everyday products.




"Going forward, a new generation of digital tracing technologies may have the ability to pull back the curtain on materials and labour sourcing and give consumers the answers they are looking for.

Sourcemap, “an open source and open data supply chain publishing platform” created by MIT’s Media Lab offers a glimpse of a rapidly approaching future in which consumers will be able to easily discover, share and discuss where and how their products are made, down to the origin of specific materials and means of shipping.

In a note to New York Times “Consumed” columnist Rob Walker, Matthew Hockenberry at MIT describes the Sourcemap platform: “Companies (and investigative consumers, academics and journalists) can use Sourcemap to share the supply chains behind products and show us all exactly where they come from… We’re not quite there yet, but we can definitely tell you where some things come from. On the site you can find things like Ikea beds, Tesla roadsters, iPods, where Whole Foods gets some of its ingredients, bicycles, Sony PSPs." (


"Bonanni is a PhD candidate at the MIT Media Lab, where he researchers and teaches sustainable design. Through the lab he is the founder of, an open source site where anyone can share the supply chain of products or activities.

Bonanni talked briefly about the big impact of mining around the world, especially how it is driven by our insatiable appetite for electronics. "Each computer is a treasure of materials, it's a really awesome thing and we should recognize and respect that," said Bonanni. "Every product we only own for a brief time in its lifecycle. It was touched by many people before us, and it's probably going to end up with lots of other people, in lots of other places, when we are done with it. These materials in a sense don't belong to us."

Bonanni said he originally conceived of Sourcemap to help designers understand where materials and products come from, but he says it is finding the biggest use among big global companies, which have struggled to keep on top of increasingly complex supply chains, and which are increasingly being scrutinized for environmental and human rights issues at every step. Tesla Motors has posted an entry of their electric cars, and another company uses the software to track meetings and staff movements, and the associated carbon footprints.

When Bonanni looked to get business cards for his site, and the largely volunteer staff that helps him out, he checked out Moo cards online. He discovered that the printer offered two kinds of cards, and he wondered which had a lower carbon footprint, half-size cards or regular-size cards made from recycled paper. It turns out the half-size cards were a bit better. "This shows that we know little about the carbon footprints of things," he said. "We don't want there to be any excuse for people not to know where things come from."

Another example of a use for Sourcemap is shown by the caterer who serves local food, and who prints maps of the farms that source his ingredients on his menus. He uses Sourcemap's easy interface to locate the farms and keep track of the impact. The end result, is that customers are really ordering from the place, and they can go to that place if they like the food.

Sourcemap is a great web 2.0 application to help us learn more about our increasingly global footprint, and to become smarter, greener consumers and businesses." (



"Icebreaker, a New Zealand-based company that specialises in active clothing made from merino wool, has tagged its products with “Baacodes,” which when entered into the brand’s website, let consumers identify the high country sheep stations that produce the wool in their garments, watch videos of the sheep farmers, and follow the supply chain, from fibre sourcing to sewing.

Meanwhile, California-based outdoor clothing company Patagonia operates a website called “The Footprint Chronicles” which lets consumers track the journey of their products through the global supply chain and examine the identities, locations and manufacturing practices of Patagonia’s business partners, as well as calculate a garment’s carbon footprint." (

More Information

  1. Open Supply Chain
  2. Fair Tracing
  3. Video: Leo Bonanni on SourceMap's and the Radical Transparency of Supply Chains‎