The Green Corridor: Food for Thought
The Green Corridor: Food for Thought
Origin Transparency and Revolutionary Substitution for Supply Chains in a Fragmented yet Increasingly Digital World
by Timothy Foote, Founder of Susymbio
In our LogiSYM Magazine, there are many articles and adverts which help to provide transparency on the flow of goods from supplier and to the final customer. These technologies help to increase efficiency and ensure that customer expectations of quality and service are met.
Vendor certification is no doubt a step that is done for most organisations when they are building their supply chain, but how intense and how rigorous that certification process is has its limits. Government regulation and enforcement of the regulations nationally are heavily relied upon and in a globalised economy the differences between each government’s regulation and enforcement standard can be well? – quite large.
Supply chain tracking systems cannot generally see into the vendors operations of resource extraction and this is a challenge of our generation. The process of extracting mineral wealth such as gold, diamonds or oil for instance has been well documented to cause environmental harm as well as societal harm in some countries. The term “Blood diamonds” was even created to highlight the harm that diamond mining was having in some West African countries. But these raw materials are only some of the most written about. A more concerning supply chain for our own health and the planet’s health is the very food that we put in our mouths.
What’s for Dinner?
In a recent scientific report published in Natureportfolio, researchers in Australia showed that just over one in ten fish packages sold to customers in Australia are likely displaying the wrong fish species. They did this by looking at the label on the package and then running random DNA tests on the meat inside.
The incidence of mislabelling was more frequent when fish groups containing protected species were tested. When sharks and rays (which contains many species that are supposed to be protected due to the fact that they are endangered) packages were tested – it showed that mislabelling occurred over 35% of the time. That is one in three chances! For Snapper (which also has several critically endangered species) the mislabelling was one in four!
Initiatives for more Sustainable Sourcing
Industries have variations on this, but to limit the problems associated with poor transparency of quality, legality or sustainability; supply chain managers use some of the following methods:
- Physically go to the source and investigate.
- Find an additional certification body (that does the investigating for you) for quality and sourcing that are connected with your supplier’s goods.
- Test the supplier’s methods. Do their methods and documented standards meet your organisation’s values or does more need to be done?
- Test in-house when you receive their goods, or use an independent surveyor to test and certify quality independently?
- Substitute product from a more legit supply chain that can replace product from a known corrupted supply chain.
New Technologies Helping to Get Fish on the Table
To illustrate this last method – let’s circle back to fish! A revolutionary solution is more pressing than ever for the world’s oceans and future human generations. Our oceans are at present simply overfished – but our growing population is only demanding more and more fish protein. This problem is especially acute in Southeast Asia.
Technology is try to get to the table though, by leaving the ocean completely alone. This year marks the 10th anniversary of the first cultured meat hamburger introduced in London. In the years since 2013, the cultured meats industry has made very large technological advances, to the extent that we are no longer talking about a thousand time disparity in price. Price parity in some verticals may be coming soon. Scaling up is the main obstacle at present, but with governments as large as China getting involved, that obstacle may soon be overcome.
During a recent SGInnovate event, I sat in an audience intent on learning the latest from Mihir Pershad, Founder of Umani Bioworks He is working hard to save the most threatened species of fish currently being driven to extinction at global fish markets by growing the finest tuna – not in the ocean, but in a lab! The process provides much more healthier and commercially standardised outputs because the environment is controlled. The plastics and heavy metals often associated with fish caught in the wild is simply not introduced in a lab environment.
In this case substitution of the wild fish market with a revolutionary alternative can actually cut many costs as well as provide extra value to consumers. The ever more expensive fishing expeditions, fish processing costs, waste disposal costs, and murky transparency – are all eliminated. At the same time, a higher quality fish meat product with huge environmental savings can possibly increase revenues.
It is not easy to move organisations into truly more sustainable channels of supply. Old ways and price pressures can always be a block to moving into revolutionary solutions (illustrated by cultured meats for instance). I feel that it is fun and interesting to keep looking for new angles and revolutionary solutions. In that spirit, I implore all logistics professionals to keep “fishing” for new ideas and solutions!