The World Economic Forum (WEF) has launched a comprehensive toolkit to accelerate the use of responsible blockchain by leaders to tackle supply chain failures exposed by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Resilience of supply chains depends on transparency and integrity, which can be improved through the responsible deployment of blockchain technology. Crises such as the pandemic dramatically increase pressure on governments and businesses to maintain resilient supply chains, the WEF says.
"The pressure created by the Covid-19 outbreak on global trade systems highlights an urgent need for global cooperation to maintain and strengthen the resilience of international supply chains. The current pandemic underscores the need for businesses and governments to improve the integrity and provenance of pharmaceutical products and medical supplies, as well as food, goods and industrial and consumer products."
To help organisations improve future pandemic preparedness and accelerate an economic rebound post-Covid-19, the WEF has released the Redesigning Trust: Blockchain Deployment Toolkit, which enables leaders to maximise the benefits and minimise the risks of blockchain technology.
The toolkit has been piloted in a variety of different contexts by organisations developing blockchain solutions within their supply chains, including the Abu Dhabi Digital Authority, Hitachi, Saudi Aramco, as well as several small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).
“The blockchain deployment toolkit is essential for designing solutions that work for a multitude of actors, including smaller players who may not have access to the resources required to unlock the value of blockchain technology. For this reason, the toolkit can level the playing field for SMEs. There are many lessons to learn from the current pandemic and this toolkit is a starting point for improving long-term pandemic preparedness and accelerating an economic recovery led by public-private cooperation," says WEF US blockchain and digital currency project lead Nadia Hewett.
The toolkit is the culmination of more than a year of efforts to capture best practices from blockchain deployment across industries. Drawing on the global expertise of more than 100 organisations – including governments, companies, startups, academic institutions, civil society, international organisations and technology and supply chain experts – the toolkit is expected to help companies manage the complexities of deploying this new technology.
The toolkit was created by the WEF, in collaboration with the Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution Network Fellows from Hitachi, Deloitte and Saudi Aramco. Among the many others who contributed to its development, in over 50 countries, were the Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution UAE, the Port of Los Angeles, Latham & Watkins, Cardiff Business School, University of Berkeley, Tech Mahindra, Maersk Angola, the World Bank, the Inter-American Development Bank and the World Food Programme.
The Vaccine Alliance, or Gavi, CEO Seth Berkley comments that the organisation continues to explore how technologies such as blockchain can be used to create more resilient supply chains for critical vaccines, particularly in light of Covid-19. The WEF's toolkit ensures that the exploration and use of blockchain technology is done in a responsible and holistic manner.
“The Blockchain Deployment Toolkit sets a new benchmark for a comprehensive guidebook to design blockchain-enabled solutions. At a time when the technology is nascent and evolving, it helps accelerate alignment and understanding of the many considerations that both the public and private sectors face to deploy solutions responsibly,” adds Deloitte Global Blockchain and Digital Assets Leader Linda Pawczuk.
“Deloitte intends to leverage the toolkit across its blockchain practice of over 2 000 professionals to guide clients across sectors and industries in developing robust blockchain networks in supply chain and finance. Further, Deloitte plans to integrate the toolkit frameworks into learning curriculums to drive a consistent approach in developing blockchain business models that account not only for strategy and product, but also for often-overlooked issues around enterprise risk, tax implications, and financial compliance,” she says.