Businesses today face immense pressure to ensure the sustainability of their products and supply...
Why is product traceability crucial in today's global business landscape ?
Today’s global business understands the need for product traceability. It provides numerous benefits to the consumer brands too. Indeed, a properly functioning traceability system significantly benefits modern businesses by aiding system-wide efficiency and process optimization, simplifying regulatory compliance, enhancing sustainability and circularity, and increasing consumer safety and engagement. This system helps maintain trust within the shea supply chain, from the source of origin to the end user, by sharing data about our sourcing and the real-world experiences of the women collecting and processing shea by hand.
The Savannah Fruits Company is teaming up with farmer connect to create the first blockchain end-to-end shea value-chain traceability system this side of the Sahara. The Savannah Fruits Company already records where their products are sourced from and the details of over 40,000 shea collectors and processors in their supply chain.
This record keeping using laptops, pen and paper, currently meet organic and fair for life (FFL) standards. They’d like to optimize operations by gathering all of this data digitally using the customized FieldConnect platform on newly purchased tablets. This will expedite the data collection process and create trust that the data is accurately being collected.
Furthermore, it allows for the collection of social indicators required by voluntary standards, such as organic, FFL, kosher, halal and Union for Ethical Biotrade (UEBT), to be gathered all in one place by SFC. This consolidated data hub also empowers them to share detailed stories from the field, shedding light on the lives of the numerous dedicated women involved in the manual processing of shea butter.
Farmer connect is a technology company based in Switzerland delivering end-to-end traceability solutions to global supply chains. Since August 2022, SFC has been working with farmer connect, helping them fully understand the unique demands of the shea value chain in Ghana, the nuances of the micro systems around each of our 10 organic shea nut collection cooperatives and 13 shea butter processing centers that produce SFC’s handcrafted butter. This blockchain backed traceability solution will connect the businesses SFC supplies and their end consumers to the very source of the product.
It has been a long journey that is far from over but has proven to be a wonderful learning curve, both for SFC and the system builders. This collaboration with SFC is farmer connect’s first attempt at creating a system specifically for the shea value chain – and welcome the challenge.
Guiding the farmer connect team through our processes was enlightening, allowing the SFC team to perceive our operations from a fresh perspective. Consequently, improved discussions on platform design fostered a far more user-friendly digital interface.
Notably, this process revealed redundant steps, streamlining our operations even before the implementation of the traceability system. In essence, working with farmer connect helped SFC staff perform a systems audit that has already meant more streamlined processes – even before the traceability system is up and running.
The decision to become fully traceable has proven to be a great one not just for SFC but also for the thousands of women in our cooperatives. Ultimately, we believe it will offer our customers and end users unique insights into the journey the product has been on, right up to reaching their shelves.
Written by: Sofia Durrani, Head of Sustainability and CSR at The Savannah Fruits Company