Avocado is going beyond our certifications, integrating blockchain technology into our supply chain to offer a level of transparency and verified material integrity few brands provide. Here’s why.
If you’ve been paying attention to targeted ads lately, you’ve probably noticed more brands than ever are marketing their products as organic, eco-conscious, ethically sourced, or made from recycled materials. It makes sense. Consumer interest in sustainability is at an all-time high. According to a 2021 study, 60 percent of global consumers and 61 percent of U.S. consumers consider sustainability an important factor when making a purchase.
But what does sustainability actually look like? And how do we know when we can trust a company, and when they’re greenwashing? The New York Times, for example, recently discovered that much of the organic cotton that clothing brands advertise isn’t organic at all.
As more companies market planet-friendly products and sustainable sourcing, transparency is increasingly important. It’s also essential to gaining customer trust. That’s why Avocado is leveraging blockchain, a digital record-keeping technology, to provide a traceable, transparent look into our supply chain so that our customers can verify our claims regarding our products’ authenticity, origin, provenance, and sustainability.
“Once data is generated and deposited into the blockchain, everybody can see it, there is verifiable proof behind it. All that data is cryptographically secured and nobody can tamper with it. This creates a golden record of truth that everyone can trust, which is one of the most important value propositions of blockchain.”
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“Currently, all the parties involved in a supply chain generate their own data, but they don’t share it freely and in real-time,” says Rakesh Sreekumar, co-founder and chief marketing and product officer at blockchain application platform company Copperwire. “So when a brand with a big supply chain tries to track orders, physical information, or financial flows, they have limited data. They’ll see a lot of blind spots in the chain because the data is with someone else. This is one of the problems that blockchain has solved.”
Here’s how it works. Blockchain is a distributed, decentralized digital ledger that allows multiple parties involved in a transaction to add verifiable information to the transaction record. When used for supply chain management, essential details about the farm or processing facility receive unique identifiers — or digital tokens. Once this information is added to the encrypted blockchain, it can be tracked throughout the supply chain and shared with customers.
“Blockchain technology uses cryptography and trust-based mechanisms to ensure only validated data goes into the blockchain,” says Sreekumar. “Once data is generated and deposited into the blockchain, everybody can see it, there is verifiable proof behind it. All that data is cryptographically secured and nobody can tamper with it. This creates a golden record of truth that everyone can trust, which is one of the most important value propositions of blockchain.”
For example, when Avocado’s GOLS certified organic latex is responsibly harvested from our organic latex rubber tree plantations in India, the end-product is given a unique identifier. Then, the entire journey — from the farmers who harvested the raw materials to our co-owned GOLS certified organic facility in India where we sustainably process it, to our Los Angeles factories — all steps are securely recorded directly from the source on blockchain. That information then becomes accessible and transparent to everyone. At the same time, data from the farmers, farms, processors, transporters, and factories are authenticated via a unique digital signature they use to sign the blocks (or unique identifiers) and add them to the blockchain. Every step of the supply chain is recorded and verified in a secure, tamper-proof way.
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So when a company using blockchain makes claims about authenticity, origin, provenance, and sustainability practices, you can verify these claims via proofs of data from every step in its supply chain. As a result, they’re able to establish trust, integrity, and loyalty among consumers in a way that other brands can’t compete with.
At Avocado, integrity and transparency is at the root of everything we do. That’s why we’re going beyond our certifications. We’ve partnered with Copperwire to integrate blockchain technology into our supply chain and offer a level of transparency and verifiability that few other brands provide across our products.
Big names across industries are also catching on. Walmart recently launched a blockchain initiative to help improve pharmaceutical safety and security. Meanwhile, diamond supplier De Beers is using the technology to monitor the sourcing of its natural diamonds, and FedEx is harnessing blockchain to better address delivery issues.
The global blockchain supply chain market is expected to surge — from $253 million in 2020 to approximately $3 billion by 2026, meeting increased consumer demand for brand transparency.
For Avocado’s part, blockchain technology will eventually allow our customers to simply scan the QR code on their mattress box to let our products tell the story — where materials like our GOTS certified organic wool and cotton, GOLS certified organic latex, and recycled steel coils in our mattresses came from — and verify they were sustainably sourced and processed like we say they are — all with full transparency and verifiable proofs.
“Our blockchain has different access levels and reviewing rights for the key stakeholders. And our certification bodies — accredited under USDA’s NOP and other regulatory agencies — have real-time access to verify all certified materials we use,” says George Matthew, Avocado’s vice president of sourcing and certification. “As a result, consumers get a high-level visual of where the certified materials in their mattresses come from and other relevant details to show their journey and establish its provenance.”
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