Tracking Fish From 'Bait to Plate' Is Smart Business

Richard Howells

Do you know where the canned tuna you are eating for dinner came from?

There is a 60% chance it comes from the Pacific Ocean. And according to recent findings by the Business & Human Rights Resource Centre (BHRRC), an international corporate watchdog, if it did, there is an 88% chance that it came from a company that does not conduct due diligence with the specific aim of uncovering modern slavery in their supply chains.

In fact, out of the 20 companies that responded to the reports, only 20% said they had mapped out their supply chains in full, and just eight percent stated they require their subcontractors to enforce their modern slavery-prevention policies throughout their supply chains.

The good news is that, according to the report, all 20 companies have “made a public commitment to respect human rights, which includes addressing modern slavery.”

To enable this, they need to have visibility, traceability, sustainability, and collaboration through a multi-tiered supply chain – from the source of raw materials to the delivery of goods to the end customers – a common challenge across many industries.

Social, economic, and environmental sustainability at the heart of supply chains

Data from Nielsen finds that 66% of global customers are willing to pay more for sustainable goods.

These customers are looking to buy from companies that:

  • Design products that are biodegradable and environmentally sustainable
  • Source materials ethically from organizations that follow social and humanitarian practices
  • Manufacture with minimal waste and environment impact
  • Deliver with logistics processes that optimize loads to reduce mileage, emissions, and carbon footprint
  • Operate assets and equipment in an energy-efficient manner that is safe for the environment and workforce

While these may be daunting challenges, companies have an incentive to move forward beyond the moral imperative. Sustainable supply chain processes, after all, are good not only for the environment but also for worker safety, customer satisfaction, and – in many cases – for cost reduction.

And technologies are emerging to help. According to a recent WEF report on building blockchains for a better planet, experts in the fishing industry believe emerging technologies like blockchain could be used to “track a fish from ‘bait to plate,’ providing a transparent view of the fish’s origin.”

So, next time you  go to a store to get a can of tuna, wouldn’t it be great if you had an app on your phone on which you could scan a QR code that would enable you to track the journey back through the distribution centers, factories, and warehouses, all the way to the ship in the Pacific Ocean, and back to the happy, Fair Trade-certified fishermen that caught your dinner.

Now that is food for thought.

To learn more, download the IDC report “Leveraging your intelligent digital supply chain” and follow me @howellsrichard.


About Richard Howells

Richard Howells is a Vice President at SAP responsible for the positioning, messaging, AR , PR and go-to market activities for the SAP Supply Chain solutions.