Can Blockchain Break the Chains of Forced Labor?

Can Blockchain Break the Chains of Forced Labor?

April 8, 2018

In a previous post, we discussed blockchain’s use in the food supply chain to speed up tracking. Now it’s being used for responsible sourcing.

Can blockchain technology address the use of forced labor in countries that produce sugar cane?

Around 45 million individuals are in forced labor conditions worldwide, according to the International Labor Organization.  Many food and beverage companies are under pressure to eliminate forced labor.

In the U.S. State Department’s first major project to use blockchain for a social issue, it is working with Coca Cola to address this issue in its sugar cane supply chain.

The thought is that the transparency of blockchain may reduce the use of forced labor.  In and of itself, this technology won’t prevent unethical labor practices, but it could provide a chain of evidence for Coca Cola to document responsible sourcing of its sugar cane.

This post is based on the Reuters article, Coca-Cola, U.S. State Dept To Use Blockchain To Combat Forced Labor, by Gertrude Chavez-Dreyfuss, March 16, 2018. Image sources: Shutterstock / heromen30 and Shutterstock / DR MANAGER.

Discussion Questions

1. How important is the responsible sourcing of materials?

Guidance:  It is increasingly important. Continue reading

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Is the Medical Supply Chain a Risk to National Security?

Is the Medical Supply Chain a Risk to National Security?

March 24, 2018

Previous OM in the News posts have looked at the IV bag shortage in the medical supply chain, and many other shortages of medications and supplies. The causes of the shortages are many, including quality issues at production facilities, and Hurricane Maria’s damage to production facilities on Puerto Rico.

Shortages in this particular supply chain can have deadly consequences, and the risks need to be addressed.

Over the years, the supply chain for medical products and medicines has become very lean, and many items are manufactured off-shore.  The last penicillin production in the US was in 2004.  Only 10% of the generic drugs used in the U.S. are made onshore, and eighty percent of the active ingredients in medications are produced overseas, mainly India and China.

Considering the length of the supply chain, combined with ongoing shortages, does a lean medical supply chain present a threat to national security?

This post is based on the Wired article, Medicine’s Long, Thin Supply Chain, by Maryn McKenna, March 5, 2018. Image source: Douglas Sacha/Getty Images.

Discussion Questions

1. Should the United States Government develop policies to insure that critical medial products and medicine are produced Continue reading

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