Technology

Alibaba pilots blockchain trial for supply chain transparency with Australian products

Dominic Powell /

Alibaba blockchain

Alibaba founder Jack Ma.

Two large-scale Australian brands have been enlisted by Chinese tech and retail giant Alibaba for a pilot run of the company’s new blockchain traceability system called the Food Trust Network.

Aussie vitamins brand Blackmores and dairy company Fonterra have signed a memoradum of understanding with Alibaba, alongside Australia Post and New Zealand Post, to help the company trial its new supply chain network. The aim of the pilot is to promote “product authenticity and provide a safe and trusted marketplace for consumers” for brands popular with Chinese consumers.

Blackmores will ship its Odorless Fish Oil product using the platform, while Fonterra will ship its Anchor dairy products. The goal of the platform, which Alibaba hopes will eventually be implemented in its worldwide e-commerce markets, will be end-to-end supply chain traceability and transparency to let consumers know their purchase is verified and authentic.

Products will be tagged with unique QR codes to help “authenticate, verify, record and provide ongoing reporting” of the goods’ supply chain path and ownership.

“Food fraud is a significant global challenge, particularly with the growing complexity of supply chains. In response, we have created a coordinated, world-leading and robust framework that involves stakeholders from across the supply chain to improve visibility and enhance the confidence of both end consumers and merchants,” Alibaba Group’s Alvin Liu, general manager of Tmall import and export, said in a statement.

“Blackmores goes to extraordinary lengths to have visibility over our supply chain and each of our products passes 30 tests and checks before it is released for sale. So we’re exploring ways
to leverage the technology and data that can provide our consumers with assurance that their trust in our products is well-placed,” Blackmores chief executive officer Richard Henfrey said in a statement.

“Our commitment to quality doesn’t end in our distribution centre and we need to give consumers confidence in the products they purchase on e-commerce platforms.”

Fellow Chinese retail and tech company JD.com is also investing in blockchain technology, signing on Australian blockchain company CanYa as part of its global accelerator program, with the startup looking to build an “entirely new venture” for the tech giant.

NOW READ: Mangoes on the blockchain? Thanks to Adelaide-based startup T-Provenance it’s more likely than you think

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Dominic Powell

Dominic is the features and profiles editor at SmartCompany.

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