Looking Beyond Bitcoin: How can Blockchain Drive Supply Chain Sustainability?

Author: Roslyn Akel | UC Berkeley School of Law | J.D. Candidate 2019 | Posted: November 27th, 2018 | Download PDF

While blockchain is typically associated with crypto-currency, recent innovative uses for this technology in different sectors has the potential to transform corporate sustainability efforts.

Walmart can prevent food waste by using blockchain to quickly and cost effectively track the movement of their fresh produce in the event of a contamination. Partnering with IBM and using IBM’s blockchain technology, Hyperledger Fabric, Walmart ran successful trials on tracking the supply of mangoes from Mexico and pork from China. Most recently, Walmart announced that it utilized blockchain technology to track its lettuce supply chain in order to determine where potential outbreaks of illnesses may be coming from. Thus, Walmart was able to rely on this technology for the health benefits of its consumers. Typically, when there are reports of spoiling or contamination with a product, distributors and retailers such as Walmart are forced to pull all products off the shelves. The complexity of tracking the supply chain means that products are often pulled off the shelves even if those products may not actually be contaminated as a precautionary measure because it is unclear where the contamination originated and how far it reached. The New York Times reported that by this time next year, Walmart will require over 100 of their farms to input detailed information on a blockchain. (more…)