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British standards body launches factory audit blockchain for U.S. importers

supplier factory audit

The UK’s national standards body, British Standards Institution (BSI), is working with blockchain firm TraceLabs to verify the authenticity of personal credentials as well as company and product certifications.

“This strategic partnership aims to provide our clients with the ability to demonstrate the authenticity of their compliance through the digital records of the assessments and certifications they have achieved from BSI,” said Howard Kerr, Chief Executive of BSI.

BSI has launched a blockchain solution to enable U.S. importers to view the certifications and credentials of factories. Called Trusted Factory Blockchain Program, the solution is integrated with the Supplier Compliance Audit Network (SCAN). 

SCAN is a trade association formed by major importers in the U.S. and Canada and is working on standardizing the format and content of supply chain security audits. Rather than every importer needing to perform an overseas factory inspection, the goal is to enable the sharing of this audit data, and thereby reducing related costs. 

The association currently has 18,000 factories in its database with members such as GAP, Levi’s, Home Depot, Walmart, Target, and JC Penney, among others. 

“Membership in SCAN has delivered both an effective platform as well as cost savings through the use of shared audits. Adding a secured blockchain element over the top of the SCAN audit only increases the security and integrity of these audits!” said Ken McElroy, Manager for Global Trade Risk at Home Depot. 

Meanwhile, TraceLabs is the core developer of the OriginTrail Decentralized Network (ODN), the supply chain traceability and data sharing solution based on public Ethereum. Based in Hong Kong with a Slovenian team, Origin Trail raised $22.5 million in a 2018 ICO.

BSI and TraceLabs used ODN to build the SCAN Trusted Factory Blockchain Program, which allows importers to view the audit and certification details of a factory securely. 

The company says it uses W3C Verifiable Credentials to ensure interoperability with other frameworks such as Self-Sovereign Identity. 

BSI and TraceLabs partnered in early 2019, and recently published a whitepaper on the three use cases they developed. Apart from the solution mentioned above, the duo is using blockchain for proof of standards ownership, and training certificate proof of credentials.  

While not explicitly focused on audits, two blockchain-based supplier management platforms include Trust Your Supplier developed by Chainyard in collaboration with IBM, and True Supplier Marketplace from Accenture.

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