Halifax startup consultancy and professional services firm Barrington Edge has launched a blockchain-based supply chain tracking platform under a collaboration with one of its clients, Kelowna, B.C.’s FutureWELL.
The new platform, dubbed Authen, calculates the environmental impact of processing and distributing farmed fish products to shoppers in stores. It also tracks the provenance of fish products — a useful ability for consumers in an industry with packaging practices that global nonprofit Oceana has described as “often fraudulent.”
Barrington Edge, the sister company of The Barrington Consulting Group, was founded by serial entrepreneurs Dennis Young and Andrew Creaser in 2016 and has staff specializing in virtually every aspect of running a startup, from IT work to corporate finance.
“Consumers are beginning to demand information that helps them make informed decisions about the food that they buy,” said FutureWELL COO Trent Coghill in a statement. “Consumers want the most healthy and fresh food from farmers that is grown with the most sustainable and clean farming practices.
“In order to feed this demand, the global supply chain must: Provide a transparent pathway of information to the consumer that defines what, where, and how the food item was grown … and provide a transparent pathway of information to the consumer that defines the carbon journey from seed to shelf.”
FutureWELL, co-founded by CEO Lee Edmonson, aims to use SaaS technology, like Authen, for climate change mitigation. In addition to businesspeople, the company’s staff includes farmers, agriculturalists, geneticists, food engineers and professional lobbyists.
Shoppers will be able to scan a QR code to display information about the product they’re considering. The provenance data offered by the platform is determined via genetic biomarkers, and the environmental impact of the supply chain is tracked with carbon ledgers — digital models that perform calculations analogous to sophisticated balance sheets for greenhouse gas emissions.
Mislabelled product is a worldwide phenomenon that effects up to 84 percent of seafood eaten in the United States and 46 percent in Canada, according to Oceana. One advantage of storing provenance data in a blockchain is the resulting ledgers are cryptographically protected from tampering.
“We are helping to change the food industry by helping to answer the questions: ‘Where does my food come from?’; ‘Can I trust the information?’; and ‘Is this product better for the planet?’” said Barrington Edge Managing Director Dennis Young, who is also now president of FutureWELL’s Authen subsidiary.
“Authen provides the provenance of the product from seed to shelf. Authen utilizes blockchain technology to eliminate economically motivated alteration of product and process data, and Authen accumulates specific data throughout the entire supply chain, including carbon footprints, to produce trustworthy data that the consumer can use to make purchasing decisions.”