NEW YORK: Coca-Cola and the United States (US) State Department along with two other companies said on Friday they are launching a project using blockchain’s digital ledger technology to create a secure registry for workers that will help fight the use of forced labour worldwide.
The State Department said this is the government agency’s first major project on this issue using blockchain, reinforcing the technology’s growing application for social causes.
Food and beverage companies are under pressure to address the risk of forced labour in countries where they obtain sugarcane. A study released last year by KnowTheChain (KTC), a partnership founded by US-based Humanity United, showed that most food and beverage companies fall short in their efforts to solve the problem.
The US beverage giant said it has been exploring multiple blockchain projects for more than a year.
The new venture is intended to create a secure registry for workers and their contracts using blockchain’s validation and digital notary capabilities, said Blockchain Trust Accelerator (BTA), a non-profit organisation involved in the project.
BTA is a global platform for harnessing blockchain to deliver social impact.
The State Department said it will provide expertise on labour protection.
“The Department of State is excited to work on this innovative blockchain-based pilot,” said Deputy Assistant Secretary Scott Busby, noting that while blockchain cannot compel companies or those in authority to abide by the labour contracts, it can create a validated chain of evidence that will encourage compliance with those contracts.
The Bitfury Group, a US tech company, will build the blockchain platform for this project, while Emercoin will provide blockchain services as well, Bitfury Chief Executive Valery Vavilov and Emercoin Chief Technology Officer Oleg Khovayko said on Friday.