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World Economic Forum issues blockchain toolkit to strengthen global supply chains

The World Economic Forum has released a blockchain toolkit offering guidance to enterprises seeking to deploy the distributed ledger technology. It cited the global pressure created by the COVID-19 outbreak on global trade as reason to cooperate to strengthen international supply chains, and look at technologies like blockchain.

“The current pandemic underscores the need for businesses and governments to improve the integrity and provenance of pharmaceutical products and medical supplies, as well as food, goods and industrial and consumer products,” said the World Economic Forum.

The new resource – entitled the Redesigning Trust: Blockchain Deployment Toolkit – seeks to capture best practices from blockchain deployment across industries, drawing on feedback from 100-odd organisations across business, government, and academia.

Nadia Hewett, blockchain lead for the World Economic Forum, said the toolkit will work as well for smaller players who may not have access to the resources required to unlock the value of blockchain technology.

“It can level the playing field for small and medium-sized enterprises. There are many lessons to learn from the current pandemic and this toolkit is a starting point for improving long-term pandemic preparedness and accelerating an economic recovery led by public-private cooperation,” she said.

It has been put together in collaboration with Hitachi, Deloitte and Saudi Aramco, fellows of the Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution Network. The toolkit has been piloted, said the World Economic Forum, by the Abu Dhabi Digital Authority, Hitachi, Saudi Aramco, and a number of small and medium-sized enterprises.

Other contributors to the toolkit include the Port of Los Angeles, Latham & Watkins, Cardiff Business School, University of Berkeley, Tech Mahindra, Maersk Angola, World Bank, Inter-American Development Bank, and the World Food Program.

Quah Ley Hoon, chief executive at the Port Authority of Singapore, said: “Blockchain has tremendous potential applicability in areas such as ‘bills of lading’, cargo-tracking, and trade financing. Maritime Singapore has piloted blockchain technology in electronic bills of lading used by shippers and shipping lines, and the ship registration process between class societies and ship owners.

“The Singapore Government will continue work with industry partners to push forward on this front. The Blockchain Deployment toolkit’s global best practices will be helpful for the Maritime Digitalisation Playbook that we are launching soon for our shipping companies.”

Seth Berkley, chief executive at Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, said: “Gavi continues to explore how technologies such as blockchain can be used to create more resilient supply chains for critical vaccines, particularly in light of COVID-19. The World Economic Forum’s toolkit ensures that the exploration and use of blockchain technology is done in a responsible and holistic manner.”

Linda Pawczuk, global blockchain leader at Deloitte Global, said: “At a time when the technology is nascent and evolving, [the toolkit] helps accelerate alignment and understanding of the many considerations that both the public and private sectors face to deploy solutions responsibly.

“Deloitte intends to leverage the toolkit across its blockchain practice of over 2,000 professionals to guide clients across sectors and industries in developing robust blockchain networks in supply chain and finance. Further, Deloitte plans to integrate the toolkit frameworks into learning curriculums to drive a consistent approach in developing blockchain business models.”

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