AB InBev has announced the launch of a new pilot which will use blockchain technology to give full transparency and traceability in its supply chain of barley.
The pilot scheme in Europe is in partnership with blockchain platform as a service provider SettleMint, while also being supported by Fujitsu.
The platform built by SettleMint will connect farmers, grain cooperatives, maltsters and brewers, with data gathered from each part of the brewing process, such as environmental impact and water efficiency, and recorded on the digital ledger. Consumers can look up this data through a QR code.
The scheme looks to target around 40% of AB InBev’s European farming base, which it calls ‘indirect’. The company already works directly with the other 60%, supporting with agronomy skills, tools and research to improve productivity, profitability and sustainability.
“For the first time in our European operations, this project will create a fully transparent, indirect supply network all the way to the end consumer,” said Pieter Bruyland, AB InBev CIO for Europe in a statement. “By connecting players across the beer supply chain to one secure, decentralised platform we can increase traceability and gather data that will help us to continue grow the finest ingredients for our beers sustainably.”
This is by no means the brewing giant’s first foray into blockchain technology. Alongside being part of initiatives including IBM’s Trust Your Supplier and the Blockchain Education Alliance, the company has previously worked with BanQu, for instance around helping farmers in Africa report their income. The company also regularly speaks at industry events, with global director Ruben Theva speaking at Blockchain Expo last year around how food and drink is benefiting particularly from the technology.
AB InBev is looking to make 100% of its direct farmers ‘skilled, connected and financially empowered’ by 2025. As of the end of last year, the company pegged its progress at 50%, 45% and 35% respectively.
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