Transparent Supply Chains

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Toby Baker:

"Many of the goods and products we consume are part of very complex global supply chains. As a result, the public is dramatically under-informed about the production and sourcing of materials and foods. Whether it’s the conflict minerals in our phones or the human ‘slavery’ required to bring cheap food to our supermarkets, collectively we have done very little to end these practices.

However, advances in technology are enabling the creation of much more transparent supply chains. These new tools hope to kickstart a consumer-led pushback against unethically produced products." (


Toby Baker:

"How can we be sure that the products we buy are slavery-free? London-based startup Provenance has adapted blockchain technology to track the supply chains of products.

Blockchain is a digital peer-to-peer ledger that enables you to track products at every stage; you can see everywhere something has been, and everyone who has handled it. Most importantly, because blockchain is peer-to-peer rather than a centrally owned database, it is almost impossible to fake.

Provenance recently trialled this system in Indonesia, tracking tuna fish from catch to customer. Fishermen using pole and line and handline fishing methods were able to register their daily catch by sending an SMS message from their phones. After that point, Provenance’s blockchain was able to track their fish up to the moment it was purchased.

The Provenance of tuna, backed by blockchain technology, and accessible to actors all along the supply chain.

By providing shoppers with reliable information about the fish available in shops, consumers are empowered to make informed purchasing decisions that support practices that they believe in. In a world in which Indonesia is the biggest producer of tuna, but also where slavery among fishermen is well-documented, this type of information is invaluable.

As well as shining light on labour practices, blockchain has the potential to boost environmental sustainability by removing the anonymity of materials - from illegally logged Amazonian trees to overfishing in the Indian ocean." (


Toby Baker:

"At a recent hackathon, The Workers Lab, a US organisation dedicated to worker justice, developed a plugin, Reveal, which shows consumers using Amazon (or any third party online marketplace) a product grade based on the working conditions of those who made it. Linked to the International Labour Rights Forum, it gives products a grading based on the likelihood of child labour, forced labour or health and safety concerns." (