Track-and-Trace: Creating Fairer and More Transparent Supply Chains for Women-Owned Cooperatives in Morocco

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“We are using distributed ledger technology to help the cooperatives better market and differentiate their products on the back of their sustainability certifications, creating products with provable certification claims and traceability back to their origin. This traceability is then being leveraged to sell ‘proof packages’ containing all this information to downstream buyers, driving more value directly back to a cooperative similar to how impact credits work in other industries,” says Erik Zvaigzne of Convergence.tech as we talk with him, as well as Marina Petrović and Robert Pašičko of UNDP Alt Fin Lab, about their project collaboration in the DLT4EU accelerator programme.

The DLT4EU accelerator programme identifies and connects distributed ledger technology (DLT) entrepreneurs with leading public and private sector organisations for social and public good.

DLT4EU is led by a consortium comprised of Metabolic, Digital Catapult and Ideas for Change, with direct support and advice of the European Commission’s Joint Research Center.

This interview is part of an ongoing DLT4EU Interview Series and was first published at “proofing future, bridging people + ideas”.

Erik Zvaigzne is VP of Product Innovation at Convergence.tech, a digital transformation and technology development company specialized in digital identity and traceability solutions, with a keen interest in how technologies like blockchain can be leveraged to create sustainability. He leads product development efforts for the company, as well as works with governments and international development organizations globally to help solve problems using emerging technologies. Erik is the venture team lead on the DLT4EU project.

Marina Petrović is the Innovative Finance and Technology Expert at UNDP Istanbul Regional Hub as well as Cofounder of the Alternative Finance Lab (Alt Fin Lab), which is an internal startup, run out of UNDP Istanbul Regional Hub for Europe and CIS. The Alt Fin Lab is exploring how to revolutionize development finance, through innovation, digitalization and technology. Since the Alt Fin Lab launched in 2016, Marina Petrović has been working to provide hands-on technical expertise, advisory support and market intelligence to over 45 UNDP offices, national partners and governments around the world.

Robert Pašičko is the Cofounder of the UNDP Alternative Finance Lab (Alt Fin Lab). He supports innovation in alternative finance mechanisms and in low carbon development in over 40 countries globally. He focuses on finding ways to make green energy affordable through blockchain, crowdfunding and community financing. Robert Pašičko also cofounded the UNDP Crowdfunding Academy, a training program for crowdfunding which has been implemented in over 20 countries worldwide and has created over successful 50 campaigns. He is an evaluator of blockchain projects funded by the European Commission.

Sebastian Klemm: Which deep economic reforms do we need to tackle, in order to arrive at regenerative & intragenerationally just societies that manage to live within planetary boundaries?

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Sebastian Klemm: Speaking of the necessary shifts in the regulatory landscape: In a previous interview, David Franquesa elaborates on the EU legislation on Ecodesign — which claims to “further enhance the reparability and recyclability of appliances”.

What enhanced regulatory initiatives do you see already that may nudge both corporate and consumer behavior towards sustainable practices?

Sebastian Klemm: What particular qualities of the DLT4EU accelerator distinguish this programme in your opinion?

Click here to visit the Convergence.tech website.

Sebastian Klemm: Why do you participate in the DLT4EU programme?

Click here to visit the Alt Fin Lab website.

Sebastian Klemm: What are the societal and environmental challenges that your particular project “Track-and-Trace: Creating Fairer and More Transparent Supply Chains for Women-Owned Cooperatives in Morocco” addresses?

Sebastian Klemm: The DLT4EU programme focuses the application of DLTs to the areas of “Circular Economy” and “Digital Citizenship”. How do you apply distributed ledger technologies in your project to help solve these challenges for the public good?

image by Convergence.tech
image by Convergence.tech

Sebastian Klemm: Track and trace may possibly be distinguished according to direction & point in time. Whereas tracing is about following the completed path backwards from its current point to where it began, tracking is about following the emerging path forwards from your starting point to wherever an economic resource currently is.

Could you further elaborate on the interplay of tracking to support the value creation in your application?

Sebastian Klemm: Can you elaborate on the aforementioned W3C World Wide Web Consortium and what specific relevance its standards compliance for your project development has? Perhaps, how does the application of these standards support your solution in terms of the public good?

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Sebastian Klemm: Throughout the DLT4EU programme and along the bootcamps with mentoring therein: What have you been developing so far?

Sebastian Klemm: So far, money has been a fundamental building block of the traditional economic paradigm, where economic actors are incentivised to extract natural and social capital in exchange for money.

In a previous interview, Lynn Foster elaborates on the use of tokens as rewards within their DLT4EU project, where spending the tokens in neighborhood businesses encourages local awareness and more cycles of local economic activity, an ‘economic multiplier‘ which increases local resilience.

Could you elaborate on realized solutions in other projects you conducted at Alt Fin Lab as well as at Convergence.tech where you applied alternative finance & currencies, impact credits or token to foster socio-ecological regeneration and resilience?

Sebastian Klemm: In our preceding interview about DLT4EU, Alice MacNeil says: “One of my favourite experiences was with the Venture Teams as part of a Storytelling Masterclass by Hayley Bagnall of Altus Impact, as part of the Barcelona Bootcamp in November. It was rewarding to see how the teams shifted their narrative about what they were doing, from a technology-first perspective to a more social, impact-driven focus. Not only was it fun, but we learned a lot about how to tell the story of your project and the power of storytelling. DLT can be quite niche, and this kind of approach allows us to tell a better story to a wider audience, to connect DLT4EU to a more public and democratic space.

What have been inspiring moments to you personally during both your work together as a team & the overall DLT4EU programme so far?

Sebastian Klemm: Were there any particular developments in other Virtual Field Lab teams that also helped you?

Sebastian Klemm: Following your participation and insights so far: What evidence of positive impact and benefits of the DLT4EU accelerator do you see already?

Sebastian Klemm: How will you sustain your engagement and project development beyond the final presentations at the European Commission in March 2021?

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