Unlocking the financial incentives that reward sustainability in supply chains

Provenance Tea Label

We’re excited to announce that Provenance is leading a new collaboration of fintech startups which will supply the technology to test whether blockchain technology can help unlock financial incentives that improve transparency and sustainability in supply chains. The group, which also includes Landmapp, FOCAFET Foundation and Halotrade will be working with partners including the Department for International Development (DFID), Unilever, Sainsbury’s, Sappi, and global banks Barclays, BNP Paribas, Standard Chartered.

The group is being convened by the University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership (CISL) and will work together on the year-long project which is being announced today at the UN’s One Planet Summit.

With the aim of tackling the Sustainable Development Goals, the project will link financial incentives to verifiable sustainability claims and transparent supply chains, using a shared data system for tea farmers in Malawi.

The pilot aims to show how this application of blockchain and other technologies has the potential to be scaled up for a range of different global supply chains. If it’s successful, it could benefit the 1.5 billion families who depend on small-scale agriculture worldwide.

Provenance sacks of tea

Provenance enables physical products to gain a digital identity that links the flow of physical products to a distributed ledger – aiding data sharing and “proof of provenance” – through the supply chain from farmer to retailer

The project will allow retailers to track and prove social sustainability claims in their supply chains, empower banks to finance good practice and lower costs in the supply chain, as well as enabling customers to understand the impact of their purchase.

“Unilever has committed to sourcing 100 per cent of its raw agricultural materials sustainably,” said Keith Weed, Unilever’s Chief Marketing Officer and Head of Sustainable Business.

“This innovative new technology will help us to increase sustainable sourcing, enhance the livelihoods of the smallholder farmers we work with around the world, and help to make sustainable agriculture mainstream. We have an important role to play in providing healthy food from a healthy planet, and we’re proud to be working with industry leaders on new technologies to bring us closer to this goal.”

This project builds on Provenance successful blockchain supply chain projects to date, including the first international supply chain pilot tracking slavery-free fish through SE Asia for the UK, US and Japanese markets (covered by The Guardian). Their ongoing work with the Co-op supermarket (first covered here), and over 300 businesses small and large that use Provenance software service to make their products transparent and trusted.

If you would like to find out more about the project or trial our software service, then get in touch with our Partnerships Manager Samuel Draper on hello@provenance.org. More announcements to come, stay tuned by following us on twitter @ProvenanceHQ or subscribing to our newsletter here.

The story was published across a number of press outlets on the day, including Financial TimesInternational Business Times, American Banker, Edie, EconoTimes, DevexGTR, Business Green and Cryptovest.


Find out more about our project work on our Case Study page or check out Our Mission