7 Months Ago

Carrefour has already found that, by enabling its clients to be able to track the provenance of some of its meat, dairy, and fruit products, there has been an increase in sales.

In the hyper-competitive grocery market, anything which one supermarket can give them an edge is bound to be copied by its competitors. Carrefour has said it will increase the number of products it sells using its Blockchain platform which offers greater transparency as to where these products originate from, where they were packed or picked, and if it subject to any genetically modified organisms, antibiotics or pesticides. It is now looking to expand in the future by adding non-food lines, i.e. clothing, as well as more information such as how much the farmer earns out of the shelf price. It is also experimenting with ways to identify products which do not rely on a “quick response’ (QR) code.

Emmanuel Delerm, Carrefour’s Blockchain project manager, told Reuters “The Blockchain initiative has proved most popular so far in China - where it is already common for shoppers to scan QR codes, followed by Italy and France, with some people spending as long as 90 seconds reading the provenance information. They are interested in information about the origin of products and how animals are cared for, with one video of a farmer with his chickens proving popular, millennials are buying less, but buying better products for their health, for the planet.”

To date, Carrefour has focused on using Blockchain technology to provide details on its own label brands. However, it has also been collaborating with Nestle to give consumers access to information for Nestle’s
Mousline potato puree products, thus allowing customers to be able to see it is only made from French potatoes.
It is not just Carrefour which is using QR codes and Blockchain technology to allow customers to get detailed information about the food they are buying - SAP has a platform too. Blueberry farmers in Chile are adding QR codes to their products so that the end-buyer is able to track the journey from the farm to the shelf. As reported in a
Forbes article by simply scanning the QR code with our smartphones, we’ll see proof of where the berries were grown, learn about the farm’s sustainability practices, and be assured that the harvesters are well-treated under fair labor laws. Blockchain will be behind it all”.

In Asia, the
South China Morning Post reported that Alibaba is trialling a project with four farmers in New Zealand to enable consumers to be able to identify what raw ingredients have been used, simply by using their mobile phones to scan the QR code. The intention is to build a “Food Trust Framework”, giving more information about the food consumers are buying. In the event of there being a problem, e.g. some form of contamination getting into the food distribution chain, if one is able to track the provenance using Blockchain technology, it will be faster to identify the source of the problem.

Food & Beverages
Logistics And Supply Chain
The United Nations, in 1996, established the United Nations Centre for Trade Facilitation and Electronic Business (UN/CEFACT).

UN/CEFACT was mandated to find ways to improve global coordination and cooperation in trade facilitation and electronic business standards.

Its main priority continues to encourage interoperability: simplifying the exchange of information up and down the supply chain, including commercial and governmental processes. TradeLens has tried to digitise the written standards that UN/CEFACT created, as it has striven to harness Blockchain technology to bring greater traceability and transparency to international shipping of goods. It processes over 10 million shipping events on a weekly basis.

The challenges of interoperability are considerable for those involved in global logistics when different players in a supply chain cannot agree on different definitions. An example of this is when shippers, carriers, and customs authorities continue to rely on paper documents simply because their computers can’t talk to each other! Having agreed standards and definitions enables humans and computers to operate on “the same page”, to help improve the efficiency of container shipping, global trade, and world economies.

French shipping firm, CMA CGM Group, and the Swiss shipping line, MSC Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC), have recently announced that they are joining TradeLens’ Blockchain-powered shipping platform to help improve their supply chain logistics.“Digital collaboration is key to the evolution of the container shipping industry. The TradeLens platform has enormous potential to spur the industry to digitize the supply chain and build collaboration around common standards,” reported André Simha, Chief Digital & Information Officer, MSC.

TradeLens has been developed by AP Moller Maersk and IBM, using IBM’s Blockchain expertise. Maersk was established in 1906 and is one of the world’s largest shipping firms. This is another interesting example of “collaborative capitalism” - one company develops a Blockchain platform and then allows what have historically been its competitors to use the same platform.

Tradelens now has over 100 companies using its platform, giving
shippers, carriers, freight forwarders, customs officials, port authorities, inland transportation providers, and others a complete view of their respective data. It also allows participants to digitally collaborate as cargo moves around the world. The platform aims to improve the efficiency and trust across the global supply chains, to make them more transparent and secure in order to foster greater collaboration.

As with a number of examples where Blockchain technology is increasingly being used, the end customer will not be aware, nor do they need to know anything about the technology that is being harnessed by multinational organisations to improve business’ efficiency.

TradeLens is also a good example illustrating how Blockchains can be used to handle large amounts of data globally by many different independent parties, who in the past have had very little co-operation between them since they are often in competition with each other.

Digital Currency
Logistics And Supply Chain
Ernst and Young (E&Y), one of the top four accountants globally, has just announced that it is helping a firm called Blockchain Wine, in Singapore, to operate a platform using Blockchain technology.

The platform will be called Traceability, Authenticity, Transparency, Trade, Origin, and  Opinion (TATTOO), and will initially be used by an Asian wine retailer, called The House of Roosevelt, to be able to track and ensure the provenance of wine from vineyards to customers. It is also the intention to be able to use tokens, which help producers pay to track wine, by improving their supply chain logistics. In time, this may lead to lower insurance premiums, as TATTOO offers greater traceability from vine to a shop’s shelf.

There are other companies that are also using Blockchain technology to help track, trace, and improve the provenance of wine. Everledger, which started its platform in 2016 in response to research, claimed that up to 20% of international wine sales were counterfeit. Vinsent also has a Blockchain-powered platform for wine. It was formerly known as VinX and attracted investment from the venture capital arm of US-based Overstock (the firm that has created a Digital Asset trading platform in conjunction with the Boston Stock Exchange). Vinsent’s platform enables consumers to buy wine directly from vineyards and so cuts out many of the intermediaries while speeding up the time for the viticulturist to be paid.

The chart above shows the demand for red wine from China and Hong Kong has been increasing, and the Asian total wine market is predicted to grow by 4% p.a from its current $57,372 million size. As the Chinese population ages, it is expected that China will become the second biggest wine market globally. The US has 8.7% of the international share of imported wine – worth $22.9 billion, according to Vinexpo/IWSR figures.

Global sales of wine are expected to reach over $224 billion by 2021, and there is increasing demand for sparkling wine, together with premium wines, where provenance is so important. Therefore, with the credibility of a firm such as E&Y offering their Blockchain skills to create the ability to track and trace wine from vineyard to consumer, the outlook for Blockchains being used in the wine industry looks “rosé”.

Food & Beverages
Logistics And Supply Chain
There are over 1.8 billion Muslims in the worldwhich accounts for nearly 25% of the global population), with many of them living in Asia and having thriving, young and growing demographics, so this 1.8 billion is likely to expand further.

Indeed, in a report on the halal market globally, it was predicted this market will grow in value to be worth over $9.7 trillion by 2025. Therefore, it is of no surprise that a number of initiatives are being launched by different companies to ensure that Muslims can have better transparency as to where their food, cosmetics or pharmaceutical products have come from, and how they have been prepared.

Halal in Arabic means “permissible”, but halal is not just restricted to meat - it covers a wide range of other products and services.

Halachain claims to be the first public Blockchain company that is focussed on the Halal sector, helping companies to be able to assure their clients that certain food, drugs, and cosmetics comply with halal specifications. In Malaysia, Miss Elwani is a cosmetics company that is using the Halachain platform, offering transparency of where products have come from, details of the certification each product has, and what the certification actually entails.

In Singapore, WhatHalal has just launched an App designed to help companies that wish to trace the origins of ingredients, and so be able to offer assurance that a product is ‘halal-compliant’, as there is an auditable record from producer to the shop shelf.

Multinational companies will not want to ignore the rapidly growing Islamic markets and, as global supply chains become larger and more complex, any solution that can create greater transparency and is tamper proof (which is what Blockchain technology is able to offer) is going to be increasingly in demand.

Logistics And Supply Chain
Market Research
Blockchain technology is being used in a variety of ways to help improve efficiency, cut costs, create greater transparency and offer provenance of where goods have come from in the agriculture sector.

Here are four ways through which this is happening:

      -Traceability - Blockchains are helping supply chains and logistics in the agriculture sector to improve traceability. This helps companies to quickly track unsafe products to their original source, so potentially preventing illness and reducing the cost of product recalls. A good example of this is the Walmart venture with IBM to track green leaf products it sources and sells. Frank Yiannas of Walmart has said “that the improved data traceability provided by the IBM platform reduced the time it took to trace a mango from the store back to its source from seven days to 2.2 seconds. That reduction in time enables companies to identify contaminated supply chains and recall affected products before they are consumed and cause illness”. Meanwhile, Irish-based arc-net has collaborated to create a whiskey Blockchain with Scottish distillery Ardnamurchan, which includes information on the water and grain used in the production of Scotch, as well as the identity of the distillers who made the whiskey. Wyoming cattle ranchers, who wanted to know where their beef was being sold, have created BeefChain, which tracks beef along the supply chain, and so enables the end-consumer to have provenance i.e. where the beef they buy has come from.

      -Payments - San Francisco - based Veem is used by tea distributor Tealet, to pay more than 30 different farmers and suppliers in countries across Africa and Asia, using a platform that harnesses Blockchain technology. Fees with which to pay suppliers can be as much as 12%, and international payments can take up to five days. The Veem platform uses Blockchain technology to convert payments from the source currency into the local currency. International payments cost 1.9% and are paid to vendors in one to three days (so it is faster and cheaper using Blockchain technology).

      -Commodity Management - Agricultural commodities business is massive and it can be difficult to collate the volume of data and minimise the time-delays it takes to get paid. Blockchain technology is able to help with these challenges. Australian company, AgriDigital, provides cloud-based agricultural commodity management services recorded onto a Blockchain. In 2016, AgriDigital completed the world’s first “farmer to buyer” wheat sale recorded on a Blockchain. Since then, it has run projects for supply chain provenance, real-time payments, digital escrows and supply chain finance for the food sector. At the end of 2017, Dutch-based Louis Dreyfus Co completed its first agricultural trade, using Blockchain technology, for a sale of US soybeans to China. Documentation, including contracts, letters of credit, and government certifications, were all digitised, and data was automatically matched in real time via a Blockchain platform, which avoided duplication and the need for manual checks. This reduced the time to process documentation to one-fifth of the usual time, and cut overall transaction time from two weeks to one.

      -Sharing information - Companies which buy or invest in agricultural products like to have information about...

Logistics And Supply Chain

8 Months Ago

Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessey (LVMH), which had a turnover of $46.8 billion in 2018, is the owner of luxury brands including the wine producer Chateau d’Yquem (which has been a vintner since 1593) and has officially announced a Blockchain-powered platform called Aura.

Aura is designed to enable luxury brands to be able to track materials that are used to manufacture items, through supply channels and production, to the shops where they are sold. It is also the intention to use Aura for some luxury brands for the trade of second-hand items such as handbags, dresses, watches, etc. The second-hand market is currently $360 billion p.a. and is predicted to grow to over $400 billion in 2020, making it actually larger than the market for new luxury brands, which is $302 billion, according to the fashion resale company Thredup.

The German Blockchain organisation IOTA, which has been working with a number of major cars manufactures, has also recently launched The Block to track and monitor the supply chains for luxury clothing brand ALYX.
While we reported LVMH plans a few weeks ago in Digital Bytes, what is really interesting about Aura (which is being built with ConsenSys and Microsoft) is that LVMH has said that, according to a press release, it is already in discussion with other leading luxury brand owners. It is not normal for competitors to pay and develop technology and then share this with their competitors, but LVMH has decided that fraud and counterfeiting are endemic in the luxury brands sector, and it is better if the industry uses one platform to help tackle this challenge.

Blockchain was originally conceived as being a consensual technology where no one entity had total control, as it operates in a very decentralised manner. Will we see other industries using Blockchain technology in such a collaborative manner like LVMH is offering to do and so solve common problems for its industry? Is this a sign of a more collaborative style of capitalism?

Logistics And Supply Chain
New York-based Phillip Morris, is looking at using Blockchain technology to track tax stamps on a packet of cigarettes, and it hopes to save, as a business, over $20 Million a year.

Currently, the process of dealing with the tax on packets of cigarettes is largely a slow analog manual process, with a sticky label to show that the tax, of approximately $5.50 per packet, has been paid. It is thought the counterfeiting of these tobacco tax stamps costs the industry and governments $100 million a year. Allegedly, with a good quality photocopier, it's possible to create fraudulent “look-alike” tobacco tax stamps and not pay the tax!

Phillip Morris believes that by using Blockchain technology it can develop a system that has greater transparency and traceability. This offers a much more efficient system for those parties involved i.e. manufacturers, distributors, merchants, and governments, as well as ensuring the correct taxation is applied and collected.

This is another good example of where we are seeing a more “top-down approach“ to the way that Blockchain technology is being applied by businesses on behalf of governments. Instead of a small start-up looking to raise capital via an Initial Coin Offering (ICO), a multinational corporation is using the technology to improve the efficiency and way it conducts business.

Tax duty on alcohol was introduced in the 17th Century and in 2018, it generated over £11 Billion of tax receipts for the UK government. In the UK, if you want to sell more than 35ml of alcohol that is more than 30 percent proof, the container will need to have a stamp fixed to it, based on legislation that goes back to 1979.

Surely there is no reason why the drinks industry cannot also use Blockchain technology, like the tobacco industry, and improve the efficiency, traceability, and transparency in the collection of duty on alcohol?

Logistics And Supply Chain

10 Months Ago

Marseilles, the Mediterranean’s second busiest port and Frances largest, is using Blockchain technology to improve the efficiency of its supply chains and the way it handles freight and goods, looking at how it can make better use and share data in a highly secure manner. 

A number of ports are now using Blockchain technology, IBM and Maersk have a system that involves a number of organizations that are able to track in real time shipping data and shipping documentation. 
Meanwhile, Rotterdam, Europe’s largest port, has a Blockchain initiative with bank ABN Amro and Samsung as they look at how to make the shipping of containers more efficient. Currently, there is an average of 28 different organizations involved in transport of one container from China to Europe. 
Shipping containers account for over 66% of all goods transported globally and the items they transport are valued at over $4 trillion worth of goods p.a. so efficiencies can make a huge impact. 

Logistics And Supply Chain
Supply Chain
Alibaba, the world’s biggest FinTech company, which is capitalized at over $453Billion is planning to use Blockchain and Internet of Things (IoT) for its vast international logistics and supply chains.

Alibaba has been experimenting with Blockchain for a while with its Food Trust Framework as it tries to improve transparency, help customers track goods and ensure their authenticity. Using QR codes customers will be able to scan a good and have greater certainty over a product's provenance.

Given Alibaba’s distribution and financial clout, one wonders how long it will be before they launch the AliCoin as a possible way to encourage and reward customers in some form of loyalty scheme. An AliCoin could then be exchanged for goods and services as Alibaba continues its expansion into banking and financial services with Alipay.


Logistics And Supply Chain
Supply Chain