Today supply chain blockchain OpenSC announced a $4 million seed round funding. OpenSC is the sustainability supply chain venture initiated by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) Australia and BCG Digital Ventures, part of the Boston Consulting Group.
Additional investors that have joined the funding round include Working Capital (supported by Humanity United) which focuses on sustainable supply chains and Christian Wenger of digital Switzerland.
“The work they (OpenSC) are doing is creating positive and scalable outcomes for people and the planet,” said Christian Wenger. “With three world-leading organizations bringing their capabilities together – from WWF’s decades of conservation expertise and BCGDV’s impressive track record of building successful ventures to Working Capital’s focus on human rights and ending modern slavery – the potential of OpenSC to make a positive impact is incredibly exciting.”
Markus Mutz, a BCD Digital Ventures Director, will be taking over as CEO. Before his 5.5 year stint at the venture subsidiary, he spent a similar amount of time at Boston Consulting.
OpenSC, which has already partnered with Nestlé and Austral Fisheries for food traceability and sustainability, has a big vision. The aim is to help people to avoid food and products that are illegal, environmentally-damaging or unethical. And to use blockchain and IoT to achieve that goal. On the sustainability front, there are some shocking statistics.
Previously Marco Lambertini, WWF Director General said that “wildlife populations have seen a 60% decline in less than 50 years, less than a human generation.” The organization states that just ten commodities account for the vast majority of deforestation, conversion of grasslands and damage to the health of fisheries. OpenSC wants to focus on several commodities, particularly seafood, timber, and palm oil.
Last year OpenSC conducted a successful pilot with Austral Fisheries, a subsidiary of one of the world’s largest fishing companies, the Maruha Nichiro Group. In that case, it enabled traceability of Patagonian Toothfish. Nestlé plans to use the OpenSC platform to trace milk sourced from New Zealand to consumers in the Middle East. After that, it will explore tracking palm oil. The Swiss food giant is also a founding participant of IBM’s Food Trust.
In February, Nestlé committed to publish data regarding the source of the commodities it uses. It set an ambitious transparency target for 95% of its raw materials.
Depending on the use case, OpenSC uses both public and private blockchains. Mutz told Ledger Insights via email: “For some of the core information that we are working with, we believe there is a lot of value in using public blockchain technology – and we are currently using Ethereum for that.”
We also wanted to clarify whether or not OpenSC is a for-profit entity. “We are a profit for purpose venture and exist to have a positive impact on the planet and for the people living on it,” said Mutz. “Maximising this positive impact means we are aiming to scale the use of the platform and technologies. But we also believe that what we are aiming to do should be a profitable undertaking and therefore enable us to eventually fund our own expansion and other positive impact undertakings for our shareholders.”
Updated with quotes from OpenSC CEO Markus Mutz