Coca-Cola Looks to Blockchain to Monitor Treatment of Workers

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Coca-Cola, the U.S State Department and two fintech companies are launching a blockchain-based project that aims to create a secure registry for workers. The goal—to insure humane treatment of contract employees in its supply chain, a key part of the Coca-Cola Company’s sustainability commitment to human rights and fair and humane workplace conditions.

“We are partnering with the pilot of this project to further increase transparency and efficiency of the verification process related to labor policies within our supply chain,” Brent Wilton, Coca-Cola’s global head of workplace rights, told Reuters.

They plan to create a registry for workers that will store employment contracts with the aim of addressing child labor or forced labor.

“According to the International Labor Organization, nearly 25 million people work in forced-labor conditions worldwide, with 47 percent of them in the Asia-Pacific region,” Reuters noted. “Food and beverage companies are under pressure to address the risk of forced labor in countries where they obtain sugarcane. A study released last year by KnowTheChain (KTC), a partnership founded by U.S.-based Humanity United, showed that most food and beverage companies fall short in their efforts to solve the problem.”

Coca-Cola, one of 10 global companies looked at by KTC’s study, has committed to conduct 28 country-level studies on child labor, forced labor and land rights for its sugar supply chains by 2020. The U.S. beverage giant said it has been exploring multiple blockchain projects for more than a year.

“The Department of State is excited to work on this innovative blockchain-based pilot,” Deputy Assistant Secretary Scott Busby commented to Reuters, adding that “while blockchain cannot compel companies or those in authority to abide by the labor contracts, it can create a validated chain of evidence that will encourage compliance with those contracts.”

The Bitfury Group, a U.S. tech company, will build the blockchain platform for the project, while Emercoin will provide blockchain services.

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