For Starbucks, which has long been committed to ethical sourcing, knowing where its coffeecomes from is not new. Last year alone, Starbucks worked with more than 380,000 coffee farms.However, digital, real-time traceability will allow customers to know more about their coffeebeans. Perhaps even more important and differentiating are the potential benefits for coffeefarmers to know where their beans go after they sell them.
This new transparency is powered by Microsoft’s Azure Blockchain Service, which allowssupply chain participants to trace both the movement of their coffee and its transformation frombean to final bag. Each state change is recorded to a shared, immutable ledger providing allparties a more complete view of their products’ journey.This can not only empower farmers with more information and visibility once the beans leavetheir farms, but also allows customers to see the impact their coffee purchase has on the realpeople they’re supporting.“While high-quality, handcrafted beverages are so important, it’s the stories, the people, theconnections, the humanity behind that coffee that inspires everything we do,” says MichelleBurns, Starbucks senior vice president of Global Coffee & Tea. “This kind of transparency offerscustomers the chance to see that the coffee they enjoy from us is the result of many people caringdeeply.”Starbucks previewed digital traceability for shareholders at its annual meeting in March.Eventually, customers will be able to use the Starbucks mobile app to trace the journey of theirStarbucks packaged coffee.“What we’re still working on is interviewing coffee farmers in Costa Rica, Colombia andRwanda, learning more about their stories, their knowledge and their needs in order to determinehow digital traceability can best benefit them,” says Burns. “We’re forging new ground here, sowe’re excited to report more in the coming months.”
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