Blockchain is revolutionising your ability to make environmentally friendly purchases

(Eco Business, 14 Sep 2018) This emerging technology is making it easier for consumers to assess the social and environmental impacts of the products they buy.

How environmentally friendly is the coffee you drank this morning? The clothes you’re wearing? What are the social impacts of the chair you’re sitting on? Perhaps you’ve tried to find the answers to questions like these from retailers, but got no response, or just a vague “commitment to sustainability” statement? 

A desire for products to be clean and green rather than drive climate change, wildlife destruction or modern slavery is a growing trend, particularly among younger consumers. But shopping ethically is often more easily said than done.

poll of 20,000 people across five countries by consumer goods company Unilever last year found that 33 per cent of respondents choose to buy from brands they believe are doing social or environmental good, with 21 per cent saying they would actively choose brands if they made their sustainability credentials clearer on their packaging and in their marketing. 

At the same time, many people are increasingly skeptical of claims made by media, politicians and business. A 2016 survey by product transparency company Label Insight found that 75 per cent of respondents did not trust the accuracy of food labels. 

An increasing number of business leaders are realising that they need to find a way for consumers to verify their product’s story. If a consumer can use a smartphone app to discover what country a product came from, what certifications it holds and even the name of the farmer or miner who produced it, those business leaders believe, that product will not only have the edge over others, but also reduce adverse environmental and social impacts of supply chains as ethical companies gain market share over those that are not.

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Eco Business, 14 Sep 2018: Blockchain is revolutionising your ability to make environmentally friendly purchases