How Supply Chain Transparency Might Just Save the Planet

“I refuse to believe that anybody here in this room, or frankly, anybody on this planet, really wants to buy a product that harms the planet or our fellow humans if given the choice.”

So argues Markus Mutz, CEO of OpenSC, a social venture co-founded by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and BCG Digital Ventures.

This TED talk, “How Supply Chain Transparency Might Just Save the Planet,” posits that the lack of transparency and information available when it comes to consumer products, and harm to the planet and its inhabitants, is to blame. He argues that humans make decisions that harm the planet or other humans because they lack the necessary information to make informed decisions. The solution he says is to use technology to create transparency and traceability in supply chains. This helps to verify sustainability and ethical production claims in a data-based and automated way, and to trace individual physical products throughout their supply chains, and share that information with consumers.

This approach uses various technologies, such as RFID tags, QR codes, and blockchain, to accomplish this. Mutz believes that in the future, algorithms will be able to use this information to make purchasing decisions that align with consumers’ values. Ultimately, consumers will support good producers and retailers who produce sustainable and ethical products, while bad actors will be forced out of business.

Mutz says that we are engaged in the detrimental act of destroying the very entity essential for our survival: our planet. The multitude of distressing issues we confront today, such as climate change and the existence of modern slavery within supply chains, can be ultimately traced back to decisions made by individuals. It  is our choice, opting for one method of production over another, that contributes to these problems. Consequently, as consumers, we find ourselves inadvertently making choices that cause harm to either our planet or our fellow human beings. This harm arises from selecting products that are detrimental. 

Finally, Mutz declares, he is unwilling to believe that anyone inhabiting this planet, truly desires to purchase a product that inflicts harm upon the planet or our fellow humans when given the opportunity to choose otherwise.

Binge-watch more of our favorite TED Talks.

Featured Insights

Gemini Products