Telltale App Prevents Greenwashing

Smartphone app tells consumers when suppliers are “greenwashing”

Whatever your thoughts are about BitCoins and other crypto-currencies, one of the positive spin-offs has been the development of “Blockchain” technology, an encrypted chain of records that defines the provenance of whatever is being tracked. It was needed for cryptocurrencies to prevent money from being manufactured at will and it’s now finding a home in other industries to prove elements within the supply chain, including environmental impact and workforce sustainability.

Based on a study this year by the Edelman Trust, fewer people than ever before have trust in the household brands they’re buying. Whereas in the past, conformance to standards was used to elevate that trust, now it’s recognised that the standards are too narrow in their scope and so conformance doesn’t necessarily equate to morality or sustainability. Holding up accreditation certificates as a means of hiding other ills in the company is referred to as “greenwashing”.

To give consumers more of an insight into the provenance of the goods they buy, two companies are using blockchain technology to gauge trustworthiness, measure performance against criteria that buyers are interested in and reduce incidences of greenwashing.

DMT in Germany has launched CERA, a global certification scheme to guarantee standards of environmental, social and economic impact. CERA uses Blockchain technology to enable the traceability of raw materials along the entire value chain to ensure high accuracy and security of information.

Swedish company, PaperTale has gone a step further and produced a SmartPhone app allowing consumers to verify the claims made by companies. PaperTale enables traceability throughout the production process and has a built-in “Environmental Calculator” which shows the product’s environmental impact, based on production methods and materials being used.

The platform shows basic information about the employees behind the products and confirms whether the workers received law abiding salaries and if they have written employment contracts. With PaperTale’s platform, every step in the production chain is verified through the Blockchain.

With public scrutiny of supply chain operations being higher than it’s ever been, these companies are using an opportunity created by Blockchain technology to provide information that people are interested in and prevent consumers from having to buy blind or believing the greenwashing.

Jonathan Newell
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