Procurement practitioners should prepare for a new development. Supply relationship management and ethical strategic sourcing may be entering a new era of the ‘circular supply chain’ thanks to a new app that promises to ‘close the loop’ between consumers and producers’ courtesy of blockchain technology.
Global management consulting and professional services firm, Accenture, has developed the app, which creates digital identities for producers compliant with sustainability standards and monitors the movement of their goods using a combination of blockchain, digital identity, and payments solutions technologies. The aim is to enable consumers to easily discover the origin of the products they buy while allowing producers to find out exactly where their goods have ended up – a loop that Accenture describes as ‘circular supply chain capability.’ Customers concerned with sustainability practices will have the power to reward small producers for their efforts in complying with sustainability practices, purchasing their products in preference to suppliers who don’t.
The app is being piloted by Accenture in a coffee cooperative based in Latin America, and in Africa, with livestock producers. The company has partnered with Mastercard, Amazon Web Services, Mercy Corps, and Everledger on this novel solution. To work properly and deliver true end-to-end supply chain visibility will, of course, need multiple buy-ins from a multitude of supply chain partners, but the process of doing so has been designed to be easy and painless for producers keen to get more traceability in their operations.
When available, consumers will be able to open the app and see exactly where the product came from, and then tip the producer for their sustainability efforts, much like people can tip Uber drivers or app-based food delivery personnel. Mastercard will process the tip transactions so that producers can rest assured that they can convert them into real currencies. They aim to release the consumer-facing app once enough producers have implemented it and demonstrated to their satisfaction that it delivers the end-to-end visibility they want.