Public blockchain and agribusiness supply chain, sustainability for producers and consumers

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Public blockchain applied to the agribusiness supply chain is now the main way to pursue sustainability on the three environmental, social and economic fronts.

These conclusions are reached in a scientific study published 5.2.21 in Sustainability by researchers at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University. (1)

With this in mind, the Wiise Chain project was developed in Italy, with the aim of ensuring the fair remuneration of truly sustainable production.

Public blockchain, the incorruptible ledger

The public blockchain is a distributed public ledger, based on encrypted data blocks that must be integrated — within an organization, or a supply chain — by the different players participating in it. The resulting information is technically incorruptible and cannot be changed even by those who contributed the relevant data. (2)

In the agribusiness sector, blockchain can first and foremost ensure the consistency of traceability and retraceability data. (3) Wal-Mart has been introducing an internal-use blockchain-like system for years, precisely to mitigate fraud on distant supply chains. But on closer inspection, a public blockchain, when easy to apply to software already in use by various companies and accessible at popular costs, can have strategic importance for the economy and sustainable development.

Public blockchain and sustainability

Sustainability means taking action on the three pillars of environment, economy and society. Italian consumers have shown increasing attention to these issues over the past year. It is therefore a matter of deciding whether and how to move toward these goals, either through a self-referential approach that often drowns in greenwashing) or through real data.

A public blockchain can facilitate this second path, through the ability to record and share-through QR-codes, websites and ecommerce, social networks-a range of data and values that consumers can appreciate. The system can then be supplemented with a modular, voluntary approach to encourage informed and responsible consumption choices. (4) Some examples to follow.

Environment and circular economy

Environment. Reducing the environmental footprint of production, i.e., consumption of energy, water, inputs in agriculture, as well as greenhouse gas emissions. Animal welfare, reduction/elimination of the use of antibiotics and veterinary drugs (e.g., Algatan). Elimination of commodities associated with deforestation (e.g., GMO soybeans, palm oil). Biological productions and their favorable impact on soil quality as well as the ecosystem.

Circular economy. Reuse and recovery of waste, to extract phytocompounds, functional ingredients and antimicrobials to the production of bioplastics, as well as feed raw materials.

Value chain and social sustainability

The quality of any agribusiness product is intimately related to the fair remuneration of the farmers and ranchers who supply its raw materials. Dairy and cheese, eggs meats and cold cuts are born in the barn, fruits and vegetables in the fields. But if milk, eggs and carcasses, like agricultural commodities are paid at the limits of below cost (and beyond) every word about food quality, environmental and biodiversity protection, social sustainability is meaningless. Also on PDO and PGI products, as seen.

Made in Italy and short supply chain are only good if they are fair, and Italian consumAtors are finally beginning to understand this concept. Thus, it is the key to ensuring that fairly-paid agricultural enterprises invest in quality and sustainability, as well as hiring legal workers rather than being forced into moonlighting as the only alternative to leaving the fields. And blockchain can ensure this news so that consumers can make an informed choice, while exemptions rather than rules on value chain transparency are still being debated in Brussels.

Wiise Chain, the public blockchain for agribusiness supply chain, circular economy and third sector



Wiise Chain

– innovative startup participated in by our Wiise (Workable Ideas and Initiatives for a Sustainable Economy) S.r.l., a benefit company – is a benefit company created to promote the development of sustainable supply chains, with focus on:

– agribusiness chain, (5)

– circular economy models (e.g., hemp supply chain)

– third sector (e.g. Égalité, Smart Chair).

– medical devices (UDI codes). (6)

Wiise Chain, the advantages

The public blockchain system introduced by Wiise Chain differs from others in several respects:

reliability. Wiise Chain adopts the BitCoin protocol, perhaps the only IT system to have withstood any cyber attack in 13 years of operation. As well as Open Time Stamps, which is equally reliable and free of upgrade costs. Two open-source software that ensures maximum transparency in the incorruptibility of recorded data,

simplicity. Wiise Chain software simply ‘teaches’ the computer systems already used by each operator to express themselves in blockchain language. That is, generate encrypted codes that different categories of users (company, partners, buyers, and regulators) can access according to defined permission levels, (7)

economy. The system is interoperable with all existing ERP software on the market, and its installation requires only a few hours of work, even to define a simple graphical interface aimed at readers. No duplication of databases or additional operations to those already in use are required in daily work. Laughable subscription costs, favorable rates for organic supply chains, concessions. No marginal cost. (8)

Dario Dongo

Notes

(1) Park et al. (2021) The effect of Blockchain technology on supply chain sustainability performances. Sustainability 13:1726, https://doi.org/10.3390/su13041726

(2) Dario Dongo and Melissa Bozzolini. Blockchain, true or false? Fraud in the corner. GIFT (Great Italian Food Trade). 6/30/19, https://www.greatitalianfoodtrade.it/consum-attori/blockchain-vero-o-falso-la-frode-all-angolo

(3) Dario Dongo. Traceability and blockchain in the food supply chain, the ABCs. GIFT(Great Italian Food Trade). 12/26/18, %C3%

(4) Dario Dongo and Andrea Adelmo Della Penna. Blockchain, the opportunities for the food and organic supply chain. GIFT(Great Italian Food Trade). 1.11.20, https://www.greatitalianfoodtrade.it/innovazione/blockchain-le-opportunità-per-la-filiera-agroalimentare-e-quella-biologica

(5) Dario Dongo, Gian Luca Mascellino. Public blockchain, Noberasco at the start with Wiise Chain. 11.11.20, https://www.greatitalianfoodtrade.it/innovazione/blockchain-pubblica-noberasco-al-via-con-wiise-chain

(6) Dario Dongo. Medical devices, UDI code traceability in Eudamed kicks off. FARE(Food and Agriculture Requirements). 6.11.19, https://www.foodagriculturerequirements.com/dispositivi-medici-al-via-la-tracciabilita-dei-codici-udi-in-eudamed

(7) Dario Dongo, Gian Luca Mascellino. Wiise Chain, the real Made in Italy blockchain at competitive costs. GIFT(Great Italian Food Trade). 1.9.19, https://www.greatitalianfoodtrade.it/mercati/wiise-chain-la-vera-blockchain-made-in-italy-a-costi-competitivi

(8) The Budget Law 2021 (see https://www.gazzettaufficiale .it/eli/id/2020/12/30/20G00202/sg) provides a number of financial facilities for the purchase of 4.0 capital and intangible assets. In summary, the tax credit introduced in the Transition 4.0 Plan is reconfirmed with the following changes:

– Increased rates and spending cap for each type of investment,

– Extension of the tax credit to general intangibles, which have been excluded until now,

– Reduction of the time of use of the subsidy from 5 to 3 years with start of the use of the subsidy from the year of use of the asset and interconnection of the investment,

– Applicability to investments made on or after November 16, 2020. Eligible expenses pertain to new 4.0 capital goods(https://www.mise.gov.it/images/stories/documenti/Allegato_A_2016.pdf), new 4.0 and non 4.0 intangibles, software and digital services(https://www.mise.gov.it/images/stories/documenti/Allegato_B_2016.pdf)