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Trust, Traceability, and Accountability: What do they actually mean?

By iov42 | 30 June 2023

Today, more than ever, people want to know where their food, clothes, furniture, and so much more comes from. Is this bottle made from recycled plastic? Did this carton of eggs come from free range chickens? Who makes our clothes, and are they paid enough? It’s a moment to be proud of; that so many consumers are demanding better standards and are willing to pay more for it.

Because of this, many businesses have tried to improve their traceability, with some companies showcasing certificates earned, or dedicated teams hired, and regulation has also stepped up with the UK and Europe mandating more traceability – such as the EU Deforestation Regulation (EUDR) which requires importers and exporters of forest risk commodities to be able to trace back to source and prove they aren’t contributing to illegal deforestation.  

This, however, has led to a lot of jargon being thrown around, and it’s started to pile up!

So that we are all on the same page we wanted to highlight the terms that are most important to us at iov42 and what it means when we say “we can help you improve traceability, accountability and build trust”.  

 

Trust

Trust is universally required when doing business, and now due to the way we operate globally, people need to be able to trust the identities, assets and claims in a digital sense.

For example, an identity could be a forest owner, an asset the timber, and a claim could be the origin of that wood. It is the endorsing of these claims through things like 3rd party verification, geolocation and DNA testing which is collected, shared and securely stored using iov42 that means business can trust the information being provided in these claims.

When it comes to building trust we understand the importance of first embedding trust within the exchange, making the truth visible with our technology, and having a deep understanding of our clients. By doing this we will both build trust and embody integrity.

It’s important to ask the right questions, including:

  • Who am I transacting with? 
  • Do I trust what we’re exchanging? 
  • Can I be sure the value exchange has happened digitally? 
  • Where is the proof of that value exchange? 
  • How do I know it has happened in accordance with regulation?

Putting trust at the heart of your business means that not only can you better build better relationships across the supply network, but also with your customers, all whilst meeting incoming and existing regulatory requirements. 

 

Traceability

Traceability is becoming increasingly important across a range of industries, such as food, agriculture, energy, and natural resources.

It’s important for any business to be able to trace the movement of products, materials, or components throughout a supply network. Doing this involves capturing and recording relevant information at various stages of production, processing, and distribution to establish a clear record of a product’s journey from its origin to the end consumer.

Doing this is crucial to providing accountability, and when a business works with iov42 to enhance traceability the efficiency of the business will be improved. We do this by using a system that can’t be altered without a record of the changes, allows multiple (approved) parties to see and check the information at the same time, and keeps this information in different places to make it more secure. This helps to know where data comes from and who is responsible for it.

In doing so, businesses can improve product quality, foster trust among stakeholders, and enable themselves and consumers to make informed decisions based on reliable and transparent information. 

It is worth noting, the benefits of traceability can be realised across a range of industries. You may be more familiar with our work in the timber and steel space, but more recently we have branched out into wider forest risk commodities including coffee, cocoa, palm oil and soy, as well as even more recently in the halal market. But the capabilities of our technology stretch far beyond these areas and we are often talking with organisations on how traceability can improve their business. 

 

Accountability

Accountability is the responsibility and answerability of individuals, organisations, or entities involved in the supply network for their actions, decisions and outcomes. Now more than ever, accountability is seen as a competitive differentiator for companies taking responsibility and holding themselves to account, whether that is their sustainability targets, gender pay gap or health and safety standards etc. And this accountability extends to internal business operations. 

For example, in a supply network it promotes trust, integrity, and reliability, and ensures that each participant takes responsibility for their decisions.

To establish accountability within a supply network, each “identity” has to have been verified, and then clear roles and responsibilities should be defined, performance metrics and targets set, and systems for monitoring, reporting, and resolving issues should be in place.

Our solutions can offer enhanced accountability by providing a tamper-evident and auditable trail of activities. When each event or transaction is recorded it then becomes extremely difficult to manipulate or alter the information, if you make a mistake you can make edits, however these edits will also be recorded. This is called immutability, and is one of the major benefits of iov42’s DLT powered solutions. Doing this will hold all parties accountable for their actions, and actively ensures the data accurately represents activities within the supply chain.

 

We believe that clarity on these terms plays a pivotal role in the success of a business. Clear communication, accurate information sharing, and well-defined processes are essential for smooth operations and fostering strong relationships among suppliers, manufacturers, distributors, and customers. And that is how we can confidently say that we can “help you improve traceability, accountability and build trust”.  

 

If you would like to learn more of our terms, check out our glossary here

And to know more about how we can help your business build trust, talk to us here.

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