Global food supply chains are responsible for an incredible one-third of all greenhouse gas emissions, with a staggering 80% of these emissions originating directly from the source, such as farms or fisheries. The complexity and fragmentation of these supply chains pose formidable challenges for major food and beverage companies that annually source the majority of food commodities, disrupting their ability to drive meaningful change toward sustainability.
To address this issue and help these companies achieve their sustainability and net-zero goals, the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) collaborated with BCG, a prominent consulting firm. Together, they formed a dedicated team called BCG X, supported by BCG’s functional practice areas. Their objective was to create innovative tools capable of verifying, incentivizing, and rewarding producers at the source to promote positive change for both the Earth and the people.
Their collaborative effort gave rise to an advanced technology platform, OpenSC, which stands for open supply chains. OpenSC was designed to automatically, continuously, and reliably check claims related to low-carbon and responsible production, leveraging precise and immutable data. This has already led to the successful development of multiple Automated Claim Verification (ACV) instances.
OpenSC has brought two notable examples to fruition, allowing for the verification and tracing of products all the way to end consumers:
- Sustainable Fishing: The OpenSC platform now verifies the sustainable catch locations of over 15% of the global annual Patagonian toothfish (Chilean sea bass) catch and traces it throughout the supply chain.
- Fair Payments to Coffee Farmers: Partnering with Nespresso, OpenSC tracks every coffee bag from 1,185 smallholder farmers of the AMKA Cooperative in South Kivu, Democratic Republic of the Congo. It also ensures that each farmer receives the appropriate Nespresso premium payment. This successful program is being expanded worldwide to many of Nespresso’s sourcing regions.
Furthermore, the ability to verify specific claims about sustainable and ethical production and trace products through the supply chain enables companies to transparently share their data and narrative with consumers, business partners in the supply chain, investors, and regulatory authorities. OpenSC’s technology products are already in commercial use, gaining traction across multiple seafood and coffee commodities, with additional products in the pipeline for high-impact things like rice and palm oil. OpenSC is staffed by a world-class team of over 30 professionals with global expertise.
In terms of their role, BCG played a pivotal role in developing OpenSC through a close partnership with WWF. From its inception, BCG harnessed a broad spectrum of capabilities encompassing business strategy, advanced technology, and climate change and sustainability expertise. They provided invaluable guidance throughout the process, from the platform’s design and construction to its successful launch and ongoing scalability. As a result, OpenSC secured funding from prominent impact investors and established collaborations with major customers such as Nestle, the world’s largest food and beverage company, and Austral Fisheries, a subsidiary of Maruha Nichiro, one of the world’s largest seafood conglomerates.