Accenture has announced a prototype blockchain-based supply chain app designed to reward business practices that conserve natural resources.
Announced today, the consulting firm said it’s working with Mastercard, blockchain startup Everledger and humanitarian aid organization Mercy Corps to encourage the introduction of the so-called “circular supply chain.”
A circular supply chain is a way to organize production so that the materials get recycled as much as possible, with discarded goods captured and components and materials re-used.
Accenture envisions its app will allow consumers to easily track the provenance of the goods they are buying and see if a producer has a certification for sustainable practices. Consumers could also use the app to send tips as a reward for responsible producers.
This reward can be sent in a form of a blockchain-based token or a fiat transfer powered by Mastercard payment rails, Accenture’s global blockchain lead David Treat told CoinDesk.
He added that Accenture is aiming to enroll small farms across the world and allow them to register their certificates of ecologically conscious practices on a blockchain as a part of their digital identity, allowing consumers to see who produced the goods they are buying and how that business is managed.
The company is also working with farmers’ associations in Africa and South America that might want to participate in the system, Treat said. The associations will be responsible for maintaining cloud-based nodes on behalf of their farmers.
Mercy Corps plans to contribute its experience working with farmers’ communities across the globe to the project, Ric Shreves, a senior advisor to the Technology for Development team at the NGO, told CoinDesk.
“In this stage of the project, we are exploring possible agricultural programs in our current program portfolio to pilot Circular Supply Chain. We think it will be best suited for boutique consumer goods, for example single origin coffee, as opposed to bulk goods.”
Accenture has built a prototype on Hyperledger Fabric, Treat said, and is looking to onboard more partners to participate. Mastercard can contribute its expertise in blockchain and payment systems, as well as access to communities it’s already working with. However, the role of the payments giant in the new joint project is not yet finalized, he said.
Tara Nathan, executive vice president for humanitarian issues and development at Mastercard, said in Accenture’s announcement: “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,”
Coffee processing image via Shutterstock.