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  • Writer's pictureAdam Couldwell

Transparent Supply Chains

Updated: Jun 17, 2019

Recently reading an article from The Hustle ( it prompted me to reflect on my university study, where I explored the changes in consumer culture with regards to transparency within supply chains. Food, fashion and increasingly consumer electronics have been high on the medias target list for exposing failures in ethical supply management. Designers and marketing agencies have jumped onto this to prove to their audience that their products are "transparent" thus ethical. Is this an attempt similar to the "green washing" of the 1960s to capture a sympathetic audience?

I am guilty of believing that this type of approach is good, as it reaches my personal ethical driven ideals.

Companies such as Fair phone and Patagonia as industry leaders in their given sectors do strive to change their industry. Applying pressure to their competitors to follow suit.

Can the videos of green fields, prancing animals and happy factory workers really be trusted? Well I do hope so…

Beyond ethical pressures, it is common knowledge that understanding your supply chain protects businesses from unexpected risks such as unreliable quality and supplier network collapse. This posses a question, can the already clearly established relationships within supply chain both ensure sustainable business growth/continuity as well as proving truly transparent/ethical supplies that consumers can trust?

This Hustle’s article also enlightened me to the efforts and achievements of IBM and their supply chain management services/software that they have no doubt engaged in for many years. From taking a snap shot look at IMB Food Trust, it shows that the systems/services are there for business to manage their supply chains and also make it more transparent for the consumer.

See more:

IBM Food Trust

IBM Watson Supply Chain:

Every day technology improves; existing software is translated to other ecosystems creating more services that inspire positive change. It is inevitable that many of these strategies are focussed on profit for shareholders. I hope that at the same time they can begin to improve the ethics of business, being more transparent to consumers, allowing us to feel comfortable in the knowledge that the best practices have been taken in delivering the goods that we consume.

There is always the argument for protecting your supply network from competitors prying eyes, however competition is good and can only push for improved products/ services and dare I say it, it could lead to more collaboration for good.


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