BCGDV Featured Company: OpenSC Receives Funding
OpenSC is a blockchain-enabled supply chain traceability and transparency platform that promotes responsible production and consumption. We caught up with BCGDV and OpenSC’s Paul Hunyor to talk about the venture’s new funding.
OpenSC is a blockchain-enabled platform for supply chain traceability and transparency, launched by BCGDV and the Worldwide Fund for Nature (WWF) in January 2019. The venture recently received significant funding to continue to grow and extend its supply chain offering.
We caught up with BCGDV and OpenSC’s Paul Hunyor to find out more about what OpenSC has done so far and what’s planned for the future.
BCGDV: What is OpenSC?
Paul Hunyor: OpenSC is a blockchain-enabled supply chain traceability and transparency platform that promotes responsible production and consumption.
The product uses cutting edge technology to enable businesses and consumers to verify claims about sustainable and ethical production using data science and machine learning, trace products throughout supply chains using IoT and blockchain technology and then share this information with consumers across a range of digital channels so that they can choose products that have been made in environmentally-friendly or ethical ways.
What problems does OpenSC seek to solve?
Global environmental degradation and wildlife loss are on a critical path: Between 1970 and 2014, global biodiversity declined by 67%. OpenSC has found that the majority of this impact has been driven by the production of less than ten commodities in supply chains controlled by fewer than 500 companies.
For over 40 years, WWF has led sustainable supply chain transformation by partnering with the world’s largest companies to establish and adopt certification standards for sustainable production. But this process isn’t moving fast enough. While enormous progress has been made, certified responsible production is yet to scale beyond 20% of the market in any key commodity. If we continue at this pace, we’ll be too slow to avoid the worst environmental and social impacts.
OpenSC builds on this work by leveraging emerging technologies such as blockchain, IoT and machine learning to accelerate and scale WWF’s conservation impact, enabling businesses to responsibly manage their supply chains, and empowering consumers with the information they need to make environmentally informed purchasing decisions, driving increased demand for responsibly sourced products.
Could you tell us about the investment round you’ve just closed?
We recently raised US$4M from impact investors, including Humanity United’s impact investment vehicle, Working Capital. Working Capital is an early stage venture fund that invests in scalable innovations to meet the growing corporate demand for more transparent and ethical supply chains — addressing the urgent need to protect vulnerable workers and source responsibly.
Working Capital was created by Humanity United, a foundation dedicated to bringing new approaches to global problems that have long been considered intractable. Humanity United builds, leads, and supports efforts to change the systems that contribute to problems like human trafficking, mass atrocities, and violent conflict.
OpenSC is an impact venture. Could you explain what this means in practice?
OpenSC has clear goals to achieve profitability alongside social and environmental outcomes. These goals are built into the company from its Constitution through to its culture and values.
In addition, OpenSC is a ‘profit for purpose’ startup, which means that our shareholders have committed to reinvest any proceeds back into achieving positive social or environmental impact.
What partnerships does OpenSC already have in place?
We already have a partnership with Austral Fisheries, an MSC-certified and carbon neutral leading Australian fishing company, also part of the Mahura Nichiro group — one of the world’s largest seafood companies, whose President Chairs the Seafood Businesses for Ocean Stewardship (SeaBOS) coalition representing 20% of the global seafood market).
We recently announced a collaboration with Nestle. As the first major food and beverage company to pilot blockchain technology in this way, Nestle will use the OpenSC platform to trace milk from farms and producers in New Zealand to factories and warehouses in the Middle East and, in the future, to track palm oil sourced in the Americas.
What are examples of OpenSC’s application? Have you run any pilots
OpenSC is already working on a range of supply chains. These include seafood (Patagonian Toothfish and prawns), dairy and palm oil. After completing successful pilots on Patagonian Toothfish and prawns, we are now undertaking a scaled-up rollout across both supply chains.
At the consumer level, we’ve tested experiences both in a retail environment with one of the Asia-Pacific’s largest grocery retailers, and in restaurant environments both in Australia and Switzerland.
OpenSC is a partnership between BCGDV and WWF. What does each party bring?
OpenSC builds on 40 years of WWF’s leadership in driving sustainable supply chain transformation by partnering with large companies to establish and adopt certification standards for sustainable production.
At BCGDV, we have a successful track record of launching new ventures in partnership with the world’s most prominent organizations, and we also have experience in the blockchain space after building blockchain-powered traceability app Tracr, which now covers over 70% of the diamond market worldwide.
Harnessing these complementary expertise and capabilities has helped us greatly in incubating OpenSC and building it into such an exciting venture.