WWF launches open-source app to make food supply chains more transparent

The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) has launched an app that aims to help food supply chains become more transparent.

The transparentC app (available for Android and iOS devices) and web portal is the world’s first open source traceability software for any type of food supply chain.

It can be used anywhere by farmers, buyers and retailers without paying license fees to ensure transparency and accountability at all stages of food production.

The application was co-developed with Republic Systems.

WWF Global Aquaculture Network Manager Aaron McNevin told Forbes that the origin of the app was problems faced by shrimp farmers in Thailand, who could not obtain the source of the meal from fish they used to meet certification requirements.

McNevin said seafood supply chains are particularly complicated due to the number of small owners involved, which makes traceability more difficult and therefore increases the risks for retailers buying their products.

“We really wanted to break the cost barrier for electronic traceability systems,” he told Forbes. “And we’ve tried to work with retailers who really want to know what their supply chains look like, who want to dig in and get the information, and then have a better understanding of the risks involved.

He added that the app works by creating a series of nodes for all people or companies involved in the supply chain. Each user is required to upload documents or images to the various nodes, which administrators at the top of the chain can check and verify.

“Because we’re dealing so far upstream in the supply chain, we don’t necessarily ask for grandiose documentation,” he explains. “What we try to do is to connect all the actors in the process.

“For farmers, there are usually only one or two requirements that simply require them to take a photo of one document or another, and then they get the green light and they can pass it on to the person who buy from them.

“The person buying from them then has to reconfirm the information by labeling it, and that just goes down the supply chain. Buyers don’t need all the information, but they should have access to all the information available.

“So when it gets to the point of export, a supply chain tree is filled. You can see the whole tree and if you need to dig deeper you can dig each of these nodes.

The app has already been tested with seafood supply chains in Vietnam, Thailand and India and palm oil producers in Honduras, but McNevin said it would work for any chain. food supply, such as dairy products or beef.

He said the added transparency the app will bring will also help “decouple” habitat conversion from food production that is happening all over the world.

“Traceability in complex supply chains, especially in developing countries, will not be solved with high-tech solutions,” he added.

“Instead, by focusing on cost-effective tools that help organize and connect supply chain actors, we will begin to achieve traceability results that will have a big impact. That’s why we developed transparenC – to remove barriers to advancing traceability and make it accessible to everyone.

Republic Systems founder Robert Hughes said they became involved in the project because “the need for mobile technology for first mile players is a good fit with our capabilities and we believe sustainability is a moral imperative. “.

Hughes added: “By building the applications with open source libraries and creating a unique user experience for imagery, offline and track map, transparentnC enables users on vessels/farms to create complex tracks using using simple apps with no license fees. We are excited to continue with the World Wildlife Fund to bring this important technology to suppliers who are fighting for true sustainability.

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