Jessi Baker presented at Ouishare Fest 2015 earlier this summer, explaining why supply chains need a tech update and how the blockchain can help.
Transcript of her Ouishare presentation:
Every product has a story. Provenance was founded to help us understand our material world through empowering great producers of products to make product supply chains more transparent.
There is a huge opportunity for decentralised applications – powered by the blockchain – to help bring transparency and traceability to product supply chains. The blockchain presents a huge opportunity to build powerful tools for social and environmental justice.
I spend a lot of time talking about products – making them, buying them. I feel it’s essential to say that I don’t believe things = happiness. But the making and buying of things are impacting much bigger things than things.
I don’t think any of us would be here at Ouishare unless we wanted to be in the service of something more than our own wellbeing and happiness. Collective challenge placed on all of us create fairness, happiness and preserve or enhance the world for the future.
There’s bad stuff behind a lot of products. Behind others is awesomeness. We turn a blind eye to the realities behind our products, but we can’t do that forever “Beyond the age of information is the age of choices.” Products are more than the metrics we shop by and looks can be deceiving.
Provenance started as a project – Project Provenance – set up to try and help make making transparent, starting with the world’s best makers willing to adopt a transparent approach.
But what actor or organisation could be trusted to broker all data about every product’s supply chain in order to facilitate making salient information transparent? The truth is that no single organisation can ever do this.
Until recent years a centralised system with a governing third party was the only conceivable way to achieve data and transaction transparency along supply chains. The blockchain – a computing system that gives power to a crowd of even conflicted actors to cooperate in trading anything – including information, in a transparent, secure, decentralised way. No one organisation has control, identity can be protected and history can always be audited – never deleted.
We believe the blockchain can revolutionise what we can know about products and how we can keep track of materials. We are building a Dapp – Dentralised Application on the Ethereum Blockchain to give businesses the individuals a system to make information about how products are made transparent.
The Provenance Dapp can facilitate end-to-end transparency by passing information along the supply chain securely on the blockchain. Linking to the physical world through existing IDs or new smart tagging Provenance allows actors along a supply chain and also end customers to prove they own the product they do and that it’s the real thing.
Material value – including amounts, value at the time, certifications and audit reports can be carried securely along a supply chain in an uncompromisable digital system with no centralised point of weakness.
This means we can all have access to salient information about products and know that it’s trustworthy, because not all products are created equal. Some t-shirts are made in sweat shops by children with pesticide coated cotton. Other t-shirts are made by fairly paid workers with organically farmed cotton. There are many shades of grey in-between. It’s time to know which side you’re backing with your purchase.