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Accenture partners with Mastercard, Amazon on ‘circular’ supply chains

Accenture has announced the launch of a blockchain-based supply chain initiative that aims to incentivise small suppliers in adopting sustainable practices and promoting financial inclusion.

The global management consulting and professional services group is partnering with Mastercard, Amazon Web Services, tech enterprise Everledger and humanitarian aid organisation Mercy Corps on the initiative.

An active user of blockchain and digital ledger technology (DLT), Accenture intends to employ the tech as a key component to boost what it calls the ‘circular’ supply chain. The term encompasses all stages of the supply chain, in order to eliminate waste and improve sustainability for the environment.

The company suggests that consumers at the end of the chain can use a mobile app to “tip” farmers at the start of the chain if they can demonstrate sustainability. It gave as an example farmers proving they do not cut down trees to plant crops or use insecticides toxic to numerous species.

The consultancy cites a 2017 Nielsen survey that suggested two in three US consumers favour environmentally friendly brands. That figure rises to 83% of shoppers in the 21-34 age bracket who agree that environmentally friendly programs are important for brands. Three quarters of the same group said they’d change their purchase habits to impact the environment.

Potential of digital

“Through effective public and private partnerships, we can place sustainability and customer empowerment at the heart of global business models, and we invite more partners to join us,” said David Treat, a managing director and global blockchain lead at Accenture.

Tara Nathan, executive vice president, humanitarian & development at Mastercard, commented: “For the 3.4 billion people — almost half the world’s population — that still struggle to meet basic needs, we believe that digital technologies are largely untapped. To put more people onto the path from poverty to prosperity, we need to create an ecosystem that streamlines access to education, health, commerce, and more.”

The purpose of blockchain is to enable corporate customers, governments and non-profits to monitor small farmer activity and address “accountability, waste and information transparency.”

Everledger was among the first companies to track diamonds through the supply chain, said its CEO, Leanne Kemp, adding: “Our blockchain-enabled work aims to facilitate more connected, transparent and sustainable supply chains, which bring about trusted collaborations among stakeholders.”

Last week, France’s president Emmanuel Macron advocated the use of blockchain to innovate supply chain management in Europe’s agricultural sector.

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