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Blockchain to tackle supply chain failures exposed by COVID-19 and boost economic recovery

The pressure created by the COVID-19 outbreak on global trade systems highlights an urgent need for global cooperation to maintain and strengthen the resilience of international supply chains.

To help organizations improve future pandemic preparedness and accelerate an economic rebound post COVID-19, the World Economic Forum is releasing today the Redesigning Trust: Blockchain Deployment Toolkit which enables leaders to maximize the benefits and minimize the risks of the technology. Resilience in supply chains depends on trust, transparency and integrity, which can be improved through the responsible deployment of blockchain technologies that offer a “shared truth”.

The current pandemic underscores the need for businesses and governments to improve the integrity and provenance of pharmaceutical products and medical supplies, as well as food, goods and industrial and consumer products.

The first of its kind toolkit is the culmination of more than a year of efforts to capture best practices from blockchain deployment across industries. Drawing on the global expertise of more than 100 organizations – including governments, companies, start-ups, academic institutions, civil society, international organizations and technology and supply chain experts – the toolkit helps companies manage the complexities of deploying this new technology and will accelerate its positive impact.

“The blockchain deployment toolkit is essential for designing solutions that work for a multitude of actors, including smaller players who may not have access to the resources required to unlock the value of blockchain technology. For this reason, the toolkit can level the playing field for small and medium-sized enterprises. There are many lessons to learn from the current pandemic and this toolkit is a starting point for improving long-term pandemic preparedness and accelerating an economic recovery led by public-private cooperation,” said Nadia Hewett, Blockchain and Digital Currency Project Lead, World Economic Forum.

The toolkit has been piloted in a variety of different contexts by organizations developing blockchain solutions within their supply chains, including the Abu Dhabi Digital Authority, Hitachi, Saudi Aramco as well as a number of SMEs.

Collaborator quotes:

“Gavi continues to explore how technologies such as blockchain can be used to create more resilient supply chains for critical vaccines, particularly in light of COVID-19. The World Economic Forum’s toolkit ensures that the exploration and use of blockchain technology is done in a responsible and holistic manner,” said Seth Berkley, Chief Executive Officer, Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance.

“The Blockchain Deployment Toolkit sets a new benchmark for a comprehensive guidebook to design blockchain-enabled solutions. At a time when the technology is nascent and evolving, it helps accelerate alignment and understanding of the many considerations that both the public and private sectors face to deploy solutions responsibly,” said Linda Pawczuk, Global Blockchain and Digital Assets Leader, Deloitte Global. “Deloitte intends to leverage the toolkit across its blockchain practice of over 2,000 professionals to guide clients across sectors and industries in developing robust blockchain networks in supply chain and finance. Further, Deloitte plans to integrate the toolkit frameworks into learning curriculums to drive a consistent approach in developing blockchain business models that account not only for strategy and product, but also for often-overlooked issues around enterprise risk, tax implications, and financial compliance.”

“We see an acceleration of digitalisation in Maritime Singapore, which has improved productivity and efficiency of the sector. Blockchain has tremendous potential applicability in areas such as bills of lading, cargo-tracking and trade financing. Maritime Singapore has piloted blockchain technology in electronic bills of lading used by shippers and shipping lines, and the ship registration process between class societies and ship owners. The Singapore Government will continue work with industry partners to push forward on this front. The Blockchain Deployment toolkit’s global best practices will be helpful for the Maritime Digitalisation Playbook that we are launching soon for our shipping companies,” said Quah Ley Hoon, Chief Executive, Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore.

The toolkit was created by the World Economic Forum with the Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution Network Fellows from Hitachi, Deloitte and Saudi Aramco. Among the many others who contributed to its development, in over 50 countries, were the Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution UAE, the Port of Los Angeles, Latham & Watkins, Cardiff Business School, University of Berkeley, Tech Mahindra, Maersk Angola, World Bank, Inter-American Development Bank, and the World Food Program. Full contributor and project community list available here.

World Economic Forum - Alexandra May, Public Engagement
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