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Two blockchain solutions target timber supply chain sustainability

forest wood timber

Two non-profit sustainability organizations have launched separate blockchain-powered platforms for streamlining timber supply chain management. In May, the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) unveiled a beta version of the FSC blockchain based on its Chain of Custody (CoC) supply chain standard. And this week, Preferred by Nature has partnered with Fintech start-up iov42 in the launch of Timber Chain.

The FSC’s mission is to balance the sustainability of the world’s forests but also make them economically viable.

With the Chain of Custody supply chain standard, FSC aims to provide a credible assurance that timber sold with an FSC stamp originates from well-managed forests. Previously the standard operated using a paper-based system for transaction verification. This is highly susceptible to fraudulent manipulation meaning timber might claim to comply with FSC standards but does not.

FSC is therefore piloting a new secure blockchain technology in the hope of reestablishing trust. Due to blockchain technology’s decentralized and immutable nature, it will be hard for colluding parties to manipulate the volume of certified material already recorded on the chain. However, as with any blockchain solution, it’s critical to ensure that the data recorded on the blockchain is accurate in the first place. Apart from fraud prevention, the aim is to speed up the verification process. The pilot will run until the end of October 2021.

Meanwhile, this week, Preferred by Nature and iov42 have announced the launch of Timber Chain, a new service that allows real-time supply chain data to be stored on iov42’s distributed ledger.

Timber Chain enables data uploaded to the service to be visible to external parties specified by Timber Chain users. It also enables certification bodies to both add data to and use the distributed ledger’s information.

“Integrating our identity-centric, trust building technology with Preferred by Nature’s expertise in certification will establish a new standard for supply chain management. We look forward to expanding this service for a number of high-risk commodities”, said Dominic von Trotha Taylor, CEO of iov42.

Preferred by Nature is an international non-profit working to develop practical solutions for forest, agriculture and climate impact commodities. Iov42 operates an identity platform inspired by blockchain for large-scale enterprises and governments.

Both platforms hope to harness blockchain to enhance data security and traceability, thereby improving supply chain integrity in the global timber market.

Elsewhere, Spain’s ChainWood group has been working on a blockchain solution for the forestry industry’s supply chain. Last year, the bioenergy company Enviva and blockchain firm GoChain also piloted a program on enhancing the traceability of sustainable biomass based on wood.