Australian Wool Innovation (AWI) – the research, development and marketing organisation for the Australian wool industry – has joined with blockchain firm Everledger to trace the wool chain of custody from farm to consumer.
In line with AWI’s thrust to promote traceability in support of the Australian wool industry, Everledger will build and host an Electronic Chain of Custody Tool (ECCT) on its platform.
The goal is to track and authenticate the exchange of ownership of selected wools as they move up the supply chain from farm, to overseas processing and through to finished products.
In the preliminary stage, ECCT will act as a proof of concept. It will trace the path of wool from farm to the end consumer, by identifying and capturing the necessary documentation at each stage of the value chain.
The ECCT will establish sustainability and compliance best practices and provide more confidence on the validity and origin of the wool product. It means a retailer or end consumer could verify where and when in Australia the original wool was sourced.
Participants at each phase of the supply chain will be able to connect through standardized data, in line with best practices for the apparel industry. Recorded evidence can be used to establish compliance, while partakers can also explore added technologies to enhance material and chain of custody integrity.
John Roberts, COO at AWI, clarified that running the proof-of-concept initiative will inform the organization about the applicability of blockchain technology to showcase and gauge industry appetite.
“A proof of concept will permit a wiser use of growers funds, as from the project findings we will then determine whether we will invest in a full platform or look to participate in an alternative,” Roberts said.
He added: “Our organisation and stakeholders have been monitoring the rapid escalation in emphasis being placed on provenance, corporate social responsibility, and the perennial concerns regarding supply chain efficiency and biosecurity.”
“Traceability and transparency are critical for safeguarding the global reputation of Australian wool. This partnership with Everledger will help us to ease the flow of information up and down the supply chain to all parties, and so communicate wool’s benefits to a wider audience. Ultimately, this is good news for our farmers and related small businesses that rely on these remarkable sheep to make a living,” Told John Roberts.
Everledger CEO Leanne Kemp noted blockchain combined with other technologies can produce noteworthy economic value to a range of sectors in Australia, contributing an assessed global annual business value of over $175bn by 2025.
“AWI are taking a lead for other traditional industries in Australia to follow,” Kemp said, adding the new solution will aid AWI to deliver a more transparent value chain.
“By sharing provenance information securely – from farm to consumer – all participants can enjoy the benefits of traceability.”