Theresa May endorses business as ‘force for good’ – Provenance at CBI: roundup

Provenance at CBI with Co-Operative

Jessi Baker speaking at the CBI Conference with Steve Murrels, CEO of the Co-operative Group.

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CBI focuses on need for businesses to have positive impact to meet expectations of next generation

(Source: CBI)

The CBI conference is a gathering of key business leaders in the UK including those from Barclays, Rolls-Royce and Vodafone, along with the Prime Minister. Jessi Baker, founder of Provenance, spoke at the event emphasising:

“Transparency doesn’t necessarily start and end with supply chains. Trust in business is something that can be built by peeling back the curtain of a company.”  

 Jessi, alongside Steve Murrells, Chief Executive of the Co-operative Group, discussed the transition from a “revolution of understanding” to more people coming together to act on societal challenges. They highlighted how government and business have a major role in finding these solutions.

Why this matters:

Businesses are now acknowledging that unless they open up they risk losing a new generation of customers whose basic requirement for trust is transparency. For larger businesses especially, this trust will be a key factor in remaining competitive.


30% of UK wool is exported to China with no traceability to its Welsh roots

(Source: The Conversation)

This article by Laura Jones & Jesse Heley, academics at Aberystwyth University, looks at how a lack of wool traceability in the UK means local producers are no longer rewarded for regional quality. The article explores how in the last 150 years the production of British wool from Newtown, Wales, has changed dramatically. The lack of local facilities now means wool is sent abroad for intensive cleaning, before being returned to the UK or elsewhere for manufacturing. The complexity of these relations means that it is virtually impossible to trace the provenance of Newtown or even Welsh wool into a specific product within the global wool market – even a pair of socks that might be sold in Newtown itself. By contrast, the New Zealand wool industry has sought to add value through the promotion of farm-level traceability for its premium merino products.

Why this matters:

Products like wool now require global processing. So the ability for businesses to trace the final product back to its origin could be key in charging a premium for local quality. As our work in the fashion industry has shown, blockchain technology is well suited to helping businesses do this.


“From now on, I’ll think of you when I drink my morning coffee. And perhaps you will think of people like me, and the joy you give to us.”

(Source: The Guardian)

This thoughtful examination of how gratitude can make us happier highlights the importance of making connections to the people involved in creating a product. We follow A.J. Jacobs’ search to find all the people involved in making his morning coffee; from his local barista to the Guarnizo family growing coffee trees on their farm in Columbia. He finds a human story at each stage of production that gives new meaning to the work, lives and aspirations that go into his cup of coffee.

Why this matters:

It is easy for many people involved in a supply chain to go unnoticed. Understanding the whole supply chain is increasingly important to millennial consumers and to the 70% of smallholder farmers who grow cash crops. Facilitating a real connection between these two ends of the supply chain can become a key part of a brand’s appeal and a more thoughtful way to consume.


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About Provenance’s transparency roundup

From the UK’s Modern Slavery Act to the rise of startup brands with open price breakdowns, transparency is an important movement affecting marketing, branding, supply chain and core business strategy for consumer goods brands all over the world. As the market leaders in tech-powered transparency, each week the Provenance team selects our picks of the most impactful and insightful news stories.