Securing supply chains
Consumers expect businesses to secure and be transparent about their supply chains. FSC is exploring new digital solutions to enhance supply chain integrity. One of these promising solutions is blockchain, which we will be piloting in 2019 onwards.
Blockchain can be used for any movement of goods with a value between trading parties. This means that it can be used to effectively and efficiently pass along value and claims in a verifiable, secure and trusted way, from supplier to buyer.
Private or consortium blockchains
There are many different types of blockchains. FSC will pilot private blockchains, also known as consortium blockchains. In this type of blockchain, information is not stored in a global public system, and information can be guarded and kept between direct trading partners.
Private blockchains could be effective in FSC because we already have a system between trusted partners with established relationships and hierarchies, and we have established definitions of who should have access to which types of information.
In FSC language we have certificate holders, certification bodies, ASI and ourselves – and contractual relationships defined between all parties. This enables us to create private blockchains only between the trading parties involved in each supply chain.
With blockchain, we are able to address the issues of passing highly-sensitive business information in a secure and agreed format, which ensures that users only get access to the information that is relevant to them and for which their profile shows clearance.
A private, trusted blockchain could address errors in volumes within the FSC system without asking certificate holders to place business-sensitive information on centralized servers or in public-facing technology platforms.
FSC is not building blockchains independently or from scratch. We are exploring partnership options with global players in the same field. We recognise that many of our stakeholders are already doing great work using blockchain and are open to engaging and collaborating.
We are exploring setups that can cater to a broader set of needs in verified claims, which could mean cooperation within an 'internet of blockchains' that can serve to ensure that verified claims (excluding business-sensitive information) can be used across multiple blockchain platforms relevant to our stakeholders.
FSC is working intensively to build our first tangible pilots in blockchain and identify the key possibilities of cooperation and learning with other blockchain pilots. We will be focused on delivering a proof of concept for transaction verification and supply chains subject to transition verification in 2019.
First pilots are only the beginning
This is only the beginning. It is our vision that blockchain technology can have a positive impact on the broader global voluntary system for all certificate holders and license holders engaged in FSC.
We see potential in blockchain to help us deliver on our global strategic goal to lower the administrative burden and cost of certification while increasing integrity of our brand.