Coca-Cola together with two other firms has strike a deal with the U.S. State Department to fight forced labor all over the world through the use of blockchain’s digital ledger technology. The digital ledger will help create a secure registry for Coca-Cola workers and make sure that all of their work hours are tracked and paid properly.
This would be the first big project that the US State Department will undertake that will use blockchain technology, which will also see alternate uses of it that includes social causes among other things.
The International Labor Organization reported that approximately 25 million people are employed in forced labor types of jobs, and roughly 47% of these people are located in the Asia-Pacific region.
In a study conducted in 2017 by the KnowTheChain (KTC) – an offshoot of Humanity United – revealed that most forced labors occur in the food and beverage sectors. It’s no wonder why Coca-Cola is spearheading this project, as they are one of the biggest names in the industry that can help make a real difference.
The KTC review also noted that Coca-Cola will soon launch 28 different kinds of research on child labor, forced labor, and land rights of its suppliers (of sugar) by 2020. The research will be done country-wide on every country where Coca-Cola has a branch.
Coca-Cola has been considering this project for over a year now, according to the US-based beverage giant.
In an email to Reuters written by Brent Wilton, Global Head of Workplace Rights for Coca-Cola, he said that with the partnerships established, the company aims to increase its efficiency and transparency when it comes to its labor policies within its supply chain which is the reason or the partnerships they’ve committed, and that they want the verification process to be swift and clear.
Blockchain Trust Accelerator (BTA), a project partner NGO, said that their combined efforts with Coca-Cola, the US State Department and others was meant to create a secure and reliable registry system for their employees through the use of the impeccable validation processes and digital notary capabilities of the blockchain’s technology.
The BTA’s main goal is to harness blockchain tech to be used for various humanitarian missions.
The US Department of State Deputy Assistant Secretary Scott Busby said in an email to Reuters that the agency is excited to work with the parties involved as well as the project itself, as it is innovative. Moreover, the agency will help the collective efforts of these firms in providing expertise on labor protection.
Emercoin and The Bitfury Group will back the project by providing the blockchain platform (Bitfury’s role in this project) as well as the blockchain services (Emercoin will handle this part), Emercoin Chief Technology Officer Oleg Khovayko and Bitfury Chief Executive Valery Vavilov said in an interview.