Walmart, IBM, JD.com as well as Tsinghua University National Engineering Laboratory have announced a collaboration in a Blockchain Food Safety Alliance which is aimed at promoting greater transparency in China’s food supply chain by enhancing food tracking, safety and traceability.
Using blockchain technology the four organizations will partner to develop a standards-based criteria to be used when collecting data on the safety, authenticity and origin of food with a view to providing real-time traceability across the supply chain. Consequently this will enhance accountability and offer regulators, consumers and suppliers greater transparency and insight into the handling of the food from the farm to the fork. Due to the fragmented and complex data sharing systems which are paper-based this has posed a challenge in the past.
The four organizations will partner with regulators and the various players in the food supply chain in order to come up with the solutions and standards which will allow for a food safety ecosystem that is broad-based.
IBM will offer its expertise as well as the IBM Blockchain Platform while the contribution of Tsinghua University will be to play the role of a technical advisor offering advice on the food safety ecosystem in China and the key technologies. Jointly with JD.com and Walmart, the technology will be developed, optimized and rolled out to retailers and suppliers who join the alliance.
Walmart is a global leader in food safety and has worked closely with industry partners, regulators, suppliers and researchers across the globe. Recent tests conducted by the retail giant demonstrated that by applying blockchain technology it was possible to cut down on the amount of time taken in tracing food items from weeks or days to under three seconds.
The collaboration between the four organizations comes in the wake of Walmart announcing that its workforce in the United States will now be able to get their salaries before payday. This has been made possible by using financial-planning tools developed by PayActiv Inc and Even Responsible Finance Inc. Consequently this will assist the employees in avoiding payday lenders and bounced checks.
On an annual basis the employees will get eight free uses of Even’s Instapay app. The app is linked to Walmart’s payroll system as well as the prepaid or checking account of the employee.
“Traditional approaches to workforce well-being often focus solely on physical health, but we know from listening to our associates that financial well-being is just as important,” said the chief people officer of WalMart, Jacqui Canney, in a statement.