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Logistics & Fulfilment

Alibaba launches blockchain pilot to fight food fraud

Alibaba Group is embarking on a pilot project to increase supply chain transparency for Australian and New Zealand products that are sold on its Tmall e-commerce marketplace in China.

Launching in Auckland on Thursday, the Food Trust Framework uses blockchain technology and product tagging with unique QR codes to give consumers confidence they are buying authentic products online.

Blackmores and Fonterra are the first companies to trial the framework, with Blackmores shipping Odorless Fish Oil, while Fonterra is shipping Anchor dairy products.

If the pilot is successful, it could form the basis of a global supply chain model to authenticate, verify, record and provide ongoing reporting of the transfer of ownership and provision of products and goods across all of Alibaba’s e-commerce markets.

Speaking at the launch, Alibaba Group’s general manager of Tmall Import & Export, Alvin Liu, said the framework is a response to the growing complexity of global supply chains, making it difficult for 40 per cent of food companies, for instance, to detect food fraud with current methods, according to PwC.

“In response, we have created a coordinated, world-leading and robust framework that involves stakeholders from across the supply chain to improve visibility and enhance the confidence of both end consumers and merchants,” Liu said.

Alibaba announced last year the engagement of PwC in Australia, New Zealand and China as an advisor on the set-up of a framework to protect product authenticity and provide a safe and trusted marketplace for consumers.

The e-commerce also signed a Memorandum of Understanding last year to partner with Blackmores, Australia Post, Fonterra and New Zealand Post on the pilot project.

Blackmores CEO Richard Henfrey said traceability in supply chains is just an extension of hte quality checks that products undergo before they hit the shelves.

“Blackmores goes to extraordinary lengths to have visibility over our supply chain and each of our products passes 30 tests and checks before it is released for sale. So we’re exploring ways to leverage the technology and data that can provide our consumers with assurance that their trust in our products is well-placed,” he said.

“Our commitment to quality doesn’t end in our distribution centre and we need to give consumers confidence in the products they purchase on e-commerce platforms.”

Australia Post’s group chief operating officer Bob Black said the postal service is committed to investing in infrastructure to ensure the delivery of genuine products to customers.

“We safeguard the transport of high-quality, genuine products to our customers, which is why we’re so committed to developing the Food Trust Framework. Through our international logistics network, Australia Post delivers to more than 190 countries around the world. We’re continuously investing in technology and infrastructure, and building strong partnerships to guarantee our global ecosystem is world-class to exceed customer demands.”

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