The British Standards Institution (BSI) and Trace Labs (Trace) are launching blockchain-based solutions to support the integrity of digital records. BSI calls itself a ‘business improvement company’ which enables organisations to adopt best practice standards. into habits of excellence. Trace is a blockchain company developing enterprise solutions for trusted data exchange across s supply chain. Their solutions enable forward-thinking organizations to gain the most knowledge and make better decisions based on interconnected data from their supply chains. Trace is also the core development company of the open-source OriginTrail protocol for blockchain-based data exchange.
Jurij Skornik, General Manager of Trace Labs, said: “We have been working closely with our partners at BSI for the past year to enhance their world-class assurance services with our state-of-the-art trust-enhancing technology. The results are three applications that help individuals and companies demonstrate and verify the authenticity of issued credentials, the importance of which has been made indisputably clear in the Covid-19 world. We are looking forward to continuing our cooperation with BSI and developing new solutions that infuse trust into businesses around the world.”
Background to the BSI and Trace partnership
In early 2019, BSI partnered with Trace Labs, as the core developer of OriginTrail, to deliver blockchain-enabled solutions. With such solutions, the BSI was seeking to enhance its global assurance, certification and supply chain services – by addressing issues concerning the integrity of digital records. False assertions are all too common, leaving market participants (including individuals) uncertain of whom and what to trust. Challenges continue within legacy trust systems. Businesses and consumers want some reliable form of truth and verification. Blockchain with its immutability is a logical choice.
For example, counterfeit products and false claims are commonplace and can flood markets. Specific items include:
- counterfeit drugs/prescriptions
- false or misleading food labels
- passports and driving licences
- personal qualifications.
In collaboration with Trace, the BSI is now launching a series of blockchain-based solutions. This will cater both to organizations and individuals – by aiming to build resilience in supply chains, a need becoming even more apparent in light of the COVID-19 virus outbreak. The BSI describes its solutions in a white paper – ‘Instruments of Trust: BSI’s Blockchain-Based Solutions’. The objective is to enable secure and trusted ways of verifying the authenticity of:
- claimed personal credentials
- company and product certifications.
BSI, Trace and OriginTrail
To help combat false claims, BSI partnered with Trace Labs using technology based on the OriginTrail Decentralized Network (ODN) in three pilot projects. This allowed BSI to create a suite of solutions which can provide instruments of trust for the BSIs clients (and is so doing enhancing the BSI brands).
Using blockchain as a single source of truth, these solutions aim to provide the ability to demonstrate to customers the authenticity of claims. These claims can cover certifications, product authenticity and traceability. In effect the aim of the BSI/Trace partnership is to assist businesses:
- comply with regulation and standards
- meet client expectations concerning products features and claims (safety, quality, and other attributes)
- manage business risk and product quality
- reduce the cost of non-conformity;
- enable the management of product recalls (with near-real-time corrective action)
- extract greater value from data already existing within global supply chains.
As Howard Kerr, Chief Executive of BSI, stated earlier this year: “In today’s increasingly interconnected world, transparency and traceability throughout the supply chain is vital. This strategic partnership aims to provide our clients with the ability to demonstrate the authenticity of their compliance through the digital records of the assessments and certifications they have achieved from BSI.
“Ultimately building trust and confidence as consumers and business partners can easily verify the provenance of the goods and/or services they are buying.”
One of the solutions is the Supplier Compliance Audit Network (SCAN) Trusted Factory Blockchain Program. BSI designed this for US importers – to ensure the authenticity of a factory’s certification and factory credentials.
SCAN is an association of importers formed to eliminate the foreign factory audit ‘fatigue’. This is associated with supply chain security importing criteria within the US Customs Trade Partnership Against Terrorism program (CTPAT). SCAN importing members have combined annual sales of US$1.25T. They source from factories around the world. Collaboration has the positive consequence of creating a single agreed-upon security audit and sharing platform. In turn, this allows importers to conduct and evaluate shared CTPAT compliant supplier and factory security audits. Both US Customs and the CTPAT organisation acknowledge the potential benefits of the SCAN program.
It emerges that more than 50% of these factories have shared use by multiple SCAN members. Prior to SCAN, this meant that these manufacturing facilities would incur regular audits by independent importers, with substantial risk of duplicated efforts.
Today, SCAN has more than 18,000 factories in its database, with several hundred audits conducted monthly. The SCAN solution secures permissioned audit data and factory credentials on the ODN. This is, in turn, based on the public Ethereum blockchain. The results are accessible to:
- SCAN members
- interested government agencies, such as CTPAT for viewing.
The SCAN implementation uses the global W3C Verifiable Credentials data model. This ensures interoperability and compatibility with novel frameworks – such as the Self Sovereign Identity (SSI) framework.
Speaking about the BSI white paper, Ken McElroy, Mgr. Global Trade Risk, Home Depot noted: “As a Tier III CTPAT business partner The Home Depot continually strives for improvements in its supply chain security platform. Membership in SCAN has delivered both an effective platform as well as cost savings through the use of shared audits. Adding a secured blockchain element over the top of the SCAN audit only increases the security and integrity of these audits! With the intention of this level of integrity and security leading to a “trusted factory” program with the various regulatory agencies further costs should be driven out of the supply chain.”
Enterprise Times: what does this mean
Industry/trade associations which provide a systematic approach to assure the observance of mutually acceptable global compliance standards have the potential to reduce audit and operational redundancy in and across the supply chain. By adopting the immutability of the blockchain, there is confidence in what is recorded while stakeholders maintain confidentiality.
Working with >80,000 clients across 193 countries, the BSI has the credibility of being an international business with skills and experience across multiple sectors (including aerospace, automotive, built environment, food, and healthcare). Through its expertise in standards development and knowledge solutions, the BSI/Trace approach opens up new ways to improve business performance, reduce overlaps and duplication as well as (the BSI claims) help its clients “grow sustainably, manage risk and ultimately be more resilient”.