Austral to use blockchain to track toothfish

WWF-Australia and BCG Digital Ventures launched a revolutionary new digital platform that uses blockchain and other technologies to track food and products, and that will help people and business to avoid illegal, environmentally-damaging or unethical products.

Austral Fisheries, based in Perth, were chosen as the industry partner for this launch, whose ‘Glacier 51 Toothfish’ will be the centerpiece in displaying the platform’s ability.

The global platform, called OpenSC, enables anyone to scan product QR codes with a smartphone camera, which automatically takes them to information about where a specific product came from, when and how it was produced, and how it journeyed along the supply chain.

OpenSC enables businesses to track their products by attaching to products a digital tag (such as an RFID tag) at their original point of production and linking these to a blockchain platform.
The blockchain, which cannot be tampered with, records the movement of the product and can also store additional information, such as the temperature of food in storage.

OpenSC has been launched following an award-winning pilot by WWF and its partners that used blockchain to track tuna caught in the Pacific. It draws on 30 years of WWF’s leadership in supply chain transformations to improve environment outcomes and BCGDV’s expertise in developing blockchain-enabled supply chain traceability and launching innovative start-ups.

“Through OpenSC, businesses and consumers will have a whole new level of transparency about whether the food we eat is contributing to environmental degradation or social injustice such as slavery,” said WWF-Australia CEO Dermot O’Gorman.

“OpenSC is fantastic for businesses that are committed to sustainable and ethical operations. In addition to providing transparency about the origin of an item’s production, OpenSC helps optimize business supply chain operations, reduces costs, and enables producers to manage issues such as product recalls,” said BCGDV Managing Director and Co-Chair of the World Economic Forum Council on the Future of Consumption, Paul Hunyor.

“We have developed technology that can reliably pinpoint the exact location where each Toothfish was caught and then use machine learning to demonstrate that it was caught legally in an MSC-certified sustainable fishery, and in particular that the fish was not caught inside an established marine protected area or in an environmentally sensitive area,” added Mr Hunyor.

“We see this as an opportunity for those doing the right thing to be able to showcase their products in a way that is transparent and verifiable, and what better product to showcase than Toothfish,” he concluded.