In 1999 a serious food scandal rocked the food industry. A limited amount of toxic dioxin contaminated the food supply chain, but because traceability at the time was so limited compared to the traceability technologies that exist today, it was unclear where the dioxin had ended up.
As a precaution, large amounts of fresh products, including chicken, eggs and dairy products, were recalled. Clearly much of the produce that was recalled was most likely not contaminated, so the absence of a reliable, rapid traceability system actually meant that huge amounts of produce were recalled unnecessarily.
Consumers faced empty shelves in the supermarket, yet with the right traceability systems in place, the impact could have been significantly reduced.
Why we started ChainPoint
After seeing the effects, and sometimes disastrous consequences, of inadequate traceability and visibility in supply chains, I founded ChainPoint in 2003. We made it our mission to use the power of technology to facilitate rapid, accurate traceability, making supply chain visibility a reality. Primarily focused on quality and safety, our focus has expanded over the years to also include sustainability. Almost 12 years later, sustainability is becoming ever more a key focus area for many companies, both large and small.
Future of sustainability
With a projected population of over 9 billion people in 2050, supply chains need to be sustainable, with companies being absolutely safe in the knowledge that they are sourcing their raw materials responsibly.
ChainPoint’s innovative technology connects complex supply chains together, meaning producers, retailers and non-profit organizations can have real guarantees that sustainably sourced materials are flowing through the supply chain. Many organizations, covering a whole range of industries from food to pharmaceuticals to textiles rely on ChainPoint every day to keep their supply chains sustainable. Take the Better Cotton Initiative, for example, which uses ChainPoint to help ensure that cotton remains a renewable resource. Or take, for example, The Forest Trust, or the Round Table for Responsible Soy, among many others. It makes me proud to see the progress that has been made, but I am equally convinced that there is so much more to still do.
Achieving a sustainable supply chain starts with gaining insight into the current impact of your supply chain. In order to do that you need to make sense of all the data that is scattered across your supply chain. Based on that data, information can be produced and analysed which gives you insight into the sustainability performance of your chain.
In order to give companies some guidance, I have written a white paper on this subject. As always, please feel free to contact me with any questions or remarks.
John Zandbergen, CEO, ChainPoint