Foundation Earth is partnering with technology company Fujitsu to explore the design of a technological solution that could track and trace environmental data in the food sector.

The solution, which will investigate the use of blockchain and Artificial Intelligence, will aim to source and map ecological data in line with the 16 indicators of the EU’s Product Environmental Footprint (PEF). Information collected would cover entire food value chains – from farmers to manufacturers, producers, and retailers – in a safe, secure and democratised way.

Digitalisation has already changed many industries, creating new business models and ways of working. When it comes to food ecolabelling, a blockchain-based solution would have the potential to bring increased transparency, verification, and auditability to the data behind the scores and facilitate the scaling and automation of environmental impact assessments for food products.

“If we want to see ecolabels on thousands of products, we know we must meet the key challenge of scalability, without compromising on the quality of environmental impact assessments. That’s why we are exploring how to use technology to our advantage, by partnering with experts to design a trusted solution that can increase the efficiency and accuracy of data mapping,” said Cliona Howie, CEO at Foundation Earth.

Gathering high quality data has long been a challenge in the agri-food sector. Without which it becomes difficult to truly assess eco impact at individual product level. Creating an automated way to map PEF data would not only reduce time and human resources used in a traditional LCA, but would also increase confidence and trust in the final score on-pack.

Such a solution would also benefit organisations by providing precise intelligence on where improvements can be made in their value chains, helping them optimise their production processes to meet measurable sustainability goals.

The tool would aim to:

  • Automatically collect and connect specific environmental data from across the supply chain
  • Structure data so that it can be reused by supply chain actors, radically improving the scalability and efficiency of LCA at scale
  • Highlight hotspots, produce reports and support decision making tools
  • Remove the need for labour intensive manual human analysis
  • Make maximum use of direct data
  • Interface with other systems
  • Be accessible to SMEs as well as larger businesses

“Fujitsu and the Track & Trace Solution Centre are excited to be working with Foundation Earth on this initiative as it very much supports our UVANCE focus and drive where we are connecting people, ideas, and technology to create a more sustainable world,” said Dominik Ferrara, Head of Blockchain UK & Ireland at Fujitsu. “What Foundation Earth are doing in terms of building and cultivating an ecosystem with the likes of Blonk, Sustained, EIT Food and academia is exactly how initiatives like this will not only take off but become the norm in years to come. The fact that they are a not-for-profit organisation and that they act for both the public and social benefit only means that their intentions are only focused for the greater good of this world and a better tomorrow, not for their own financial posture.”