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Sugar industry explores blockchain


Today Bloomberg reported that there’s a new blockchain sugar consortium in the works. Fifty people gathered in Dubai in a meeting convened by Jamal Al Ghurair, the managing director of Al Khaleej Sugar which outputs 3% of the world’s refined sugar.

The group took advantage of international executives present for the Dubai Sugar Conference held earlier this week. Al Ghurair was one of the event hosts as well as Jacob Robbins, CEO of Emeterra who is leading the blockchain initiative. One of the sessions was “Blockchain for Sugar” which featured speakers and panelists from blockchain technology company ConsenSys, Louis Dreyfus Company, ABN AMRO and Société Générale.

Many commodity supply chain processes are still hampered by paperwork being emailed around and constant reconciliation. By standardizing and digitizing the trade operations, there’s scope to save significant sums of money.

Five of the biggest agribusinesses in the world have created a consortium looking at digital transformation as a whole. The group nicknamed ABCCD includes Archer Daniels Midland (ADM), Bunge, Cargill, Louis Dreyfus Company (Dreyfus) and COFCO. But sugar is one of those commodities and Dreyfus is a top ten player in the sugar industry. ABCCD is still in the early stages and blockchain will be just one technology in the digitization toolset.

Other commodity initiatives are already live. In the oil sector, the VAKT blockchain initiative boasts shareholders such as BP, Chevron, Shell, Total, Gunvor, Koch and Mercuria. It also has three banks as investors in the form of ABN AMRO, ING, and Société Générale. The group incorporated in London and has raised $33 million to date from 12 organizations.

Commodity Consortium/ Company
Agribusiness ABCCD: ADM, Bunge, Cargill, Dreyfus, COFCO
Gold, Silver Tradewind
Metals Minehub
Cobalt IBM, Ford +
Tantalum Circulor
Trade finance komgo

VAKT is closely associated with commodities trade finance group komgo which is backed by 11 major banks and went into production recently. The Dubai sugar meeting had two banks present, ABN AMRO and Société Générale which are both shareholders in VAKT and komgo. ConsenSys is komgo’s technology partner.

Standards are one of the first things required to achieve the benefits of digitization. Hence it’s no surprise that one of the primary sugar standards bodies, the Sugar Association of London was present for discussions about a sugar consortium.

The sugar group plans to move quickly with feedback requested within two weeks.

Image Copyright: photkas / BigStock Photo