Coca-Cola is one of the latest multinationals to announce that they are embracing the blockchain. However, they are not using it to gain a competitive advantage in business but to fight forced labor. To achieve this objective, the company has teamed up with the US State Department and a trio of crypto companies.
Blockchain Technology And Humanitarian Initiatives
Ever since the blockchain technology started receiving attention outside the world of crypto, there has been a lot of talk about its potential in the humanitarian world. With its security features and decentralization, it is easy to see how it could be used to increase transparency in many industries.
As a result, it could help to eliminate much of the human cost that most of the world is guilty of supporting. According to data from the ILO, there are almost 25 million people working in forced labor conditions globally. About 47 percent of these people are located in the Asia-Pacific region.
Forced Labor Is Still Here With Us
When the announcement that blockchain technology would be used to fight forced labor, it came as a surprise to many. Most other companies are utilizing the technology for supply chain management. The most surprising thing about it is that Coca-Cola is amongst the first major companies to utilize the blockchain in this manner.
A 2008 report revealed that some of the sugar harvested for use in Coca-Cola was sourced from slave-like labor. In ten years since the release of that report, not much has changed. In fact, most major food and beverage companies have done little to address the issue of forced labor.
How The Project Will Work
The project will aim to utilize the distributed ledger to create a secure registry of all workers and their contracts. This will be useful is recording the identities of workers and providing a clear trail of evidence in case employers do not honor the clauses in the contract.
Coca-Cola has pledged that it will conduct 28 national studies on labor and land rights for its sugar supply chain by 2020. It will help to confront complaints that the company and others have failed to protect the rights of workers. Even ignoring forced labor practices.
The Emercoin team has already been able to develop a wide array of programs on top of its blockchain. On its part, the state Department will provide the experience that it has with labor protection. The Bitfury Group and Emercoin will be responsible for coming up with the blockchain platform. The Blockchain Trust Accelerator is a nonprofit whose aim is to use its tech to promote social good.
Why It May Fail
Although the project has great potential in combating modern-day slavery, the pilot project has some major limitations. Companies that agree to use this pilot project will need to ensure that they meet the labor requirements in their countries and create the contracts for workers. However, no one can force them to adhere to the terms of this contract. The result is that the entire project could end up being cosmetic.