Reports
Published: 23 January 2020

An Open Platform for Traceability: Accelerating Transparency and Sustainability across Manufacturing Ecosystems

While the manufacturing and production sectors comprise 16% of global GDP and are key drivers for economies around the world, the complex network of supply chains on which these sectors rely presents enormous economic, social and environmental risks that must be collaboratively addressed. Blockchain technologies have the potential to mitigate these risks by enhancing transparency and traceability that can be leveraged to create more efficient and sustainable supply chains. Capitalizing on this potential requires accelerated adoption of blockchain – and blockchain-enabling – technologies, but also new collaborative and neutral platforms to visualize and share traceability data to enable a culture of transparency and mutual accountability across these global networks while providing consumers with the information they demand.

While the manufacturing and production sectors comprise 16% of global GDP and are key drivers for economies around the world, the complex network of supply chains on which these sectors rely presents enormous economic, social and environmental risks that must be collaboratively addressed. Blockchain technologies have the potential to mitigate these risks by enhancing transparency and traceability that can be leveraged to create more efficient and sustainable supply chains. Capitalizing on this potential requires accelerated adoption of blockchain – and blockchain-enabling – technologies, but also new collaborative and neutral platforms to visualize and share traceability data to enable a culture of transparency and mutual accountability across these global networks while providing consumers with the information they demand.

The World Economic Forum in collaboration with Everledger, Lenzing Group, TextileGenesis™ and the International Trade Centre created the first neutral and public traceability platform capable of visualizing blockchain-based supply chain data from multiple companies and sources. The International Trade Centre, a UN entity with universal membership by mandate, hosts the platform via its Sustainability Map. In this way, the ITC can assure all parties that their data will not be shared externally and that sensitive data can be hosted at UN data centres to benefit from UN neutrality, immunities, and privileges. This, combined with the Forum’s ability to accelerate and amplify public-private cooperation, enables the platform to be a neutral and safe place to host the site, encourage cross-industry collaboration and use public and private sector inputs to shape the future of supply chain traceability, transparency and sustainability.

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