Nestlé claims it "will break new ground in supply chain transparency" through a collaboration with OpenSC - a blockchain platform that allows consumers to track their food back to the farm.
Although the goal is give "anyone anywhere in the world" such information, the initial pilot program only mentions tracing milk from farms and producers in New Zealand to Nestlé factories and warehouses in the Middle East. "Later, the technology will be tested using palm oil sourced in the Americas," a company statement said. "These pilots will allow Nestlé to understand how scalable the system is."
OpenSC was founded by WWF-Australia and The Boston Consulting Group Digital Ventures. The platform will give anyone anywhere access to independently verifiable sustainability and supply chain data.
Blockchain technology originated in 2009 as a distributed ledger for recording monetary transactions in the Bitcoin network. Transactions between participants on the system are bundled together into blocks, which are then linked to the previous block, forming a chain. It has applicability to food industry supply chains.
"Open blockchain technology might allow us to share reliable information with consumers in an accessible way," said Magdi Batato, executive vice president and head of operations at Nestlé S.A. headquarters.
Nestlé has piloted blockchain technology since 2017, most prominently with IBM Food Trust. In April, it gave consumers access to blockchain data for the first time, through Mousline purée in France.
Walmart has given its lettuce suppliers till September of this year to make their shipments completely traceable with blockchain technology.
"We believe it is another important step towards the full disclosure of our supply chains announced by Nestlé in February this year, raising the bar for transparency and responsible production globally," said Benjamin Ware, Global Head of Responsible Sourcing, Nestlé S.A.