Sappi teams up with major global brands to explore the potential of innovative blockchain technology in enhancing the sustainability of global supply chains.

A successful experiment by the University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership (CISL), brings Sappi together with major global brands (Sainsbury's, BNP Paribas, Unilever, Barclays, Standard Chartered and Rabobank) showing how a new model of blockchain and other data sharing technologies can enhance the sustainability of global supply chains without increasing production costs.

Trado: New technologies to fund fairer, more transparent supply chains shows how shared data from smallholders can increase supply chain transparency and lead to earlier, pre-shipment financing with the potential for long-term benefits for suppliers, with net zero impact on production costs.

The Trado model was piloted with smallholder tea farmers in Malawi, showing how sustainability in end-to-end supply chains can look at every aspect from the tea farmers products right down to the product packaging sitting on supermarket shelves. The tea farmers were offered a financial incentive in return for feeding social or ecological data into the blockchain. An innovative blockchain structure, enabling traceability, has been developed into a blueprint for replication, development and experimentation in other contexts. Sappi ensured that alongside the product, that sustainable paper packaging also carried with it the very same principle  ensuring the complete product package has the same traceability throughout.

The Trado model could potentially pay for some of the investment needed to establish traceability across supply chains, although further investigation is needed to scope the model’s ability to do this while benefitting smallholders.

Thomas Verhagen, Senior Programme Manager, University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership, said: 

"The products we, as end-consumers, buy consist of a multitude of inputs, such as paper packaging in the case of tea bought in supermarkets. The development of sustainability solutions regularly happens in a siloed, input-by-input, basis. To consumers and supply chain parties this fragmentation is not always helpful in understanding the impacts of the things they buy. This is why, from the outset of the pilot, the Trado consortium took a holistic view of the tea supply chain and considered the application of the model’s asset tracking component for the tea packaging supply chain. Through the test we found that in a packaging supply chain Trado can create a real-time view into certification at origin, and also that it can create a single source of truth. In doing so, Trado provided a unique opportunity to bring two aspects together: a fairer distribution of benefits along a product supply chain as well as higher visibility into the sustainable attributes of packaging."

“This is a significant step towards the further development and understanding of how technology-driven innovation can support delivery of the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Collaboration between multi-nationals, financial institutions and fintech firms can harness new ways to ensure financial flows support fair and just policies and practices ready for a new financial system. The Trado model has potential for replication across a wide range of topics and we hope the blueprint will encourage others to deliver its potential for social and environmental improvement.”

Kurt Kim, VP Supply Chain & Procurement for Sappi Europe, said:
“In a world with increasing concern about the environmental impact of non-recyclable and non-biodegradable packaging, paper products are a great alternative. To deliver sustainable paper packaging solutions, it is of utmost importance to ensure that the wood supply originates from sustainably managed forests. This requires forest certification and a high level of transparency and incorruptible tracking systems in order to give consumers the confidence they require to make their purchasing decisions. Project Trado has offered a great opportunity to explore whether the use of Blockchain technology could add value to forest certification systems by offering a new and real-time way to trace our wood from the forest. Looking forward we will now assess possibilities for scaling up the solution together with other stakeholders including certification systems and industry partners.”

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About Sappi
Sappi is a leading global provider of sustainable woodfibre products and solutions, in the fields of Dissolving pulp, Graphic papers, Packaging and speciality papers, Casting and release papers, Biomaterials and Bio-energy. As a company that relies on renewable natural resources, sustainability is at our core. Sappi European mills hold chain of custody certifications under the Forest Stewardship Council® (FSC®) and/or the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification™ (PEFC™) systems. Our papers are produced in mills accredited with ISO 9001, ISO 14001, ISO 50 001 and OHSAS 18001 certification. We have EMAS registration at 8 of our 10 mills in Europe.  

Sappi Europe SA is a division of Sappi Limited (JSE), headquartered in Johannesburg, South Africa, with 12,500 employees and 18 production facilities on three continents in nine countries, 37 sales offices globally, and customers in over 150 countries around the world. 
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