Starbucks has announced a new blockchain platform for tracking coffee from “farm to cup”. In so doing, consumers will have access to more information on the origins of their coffee.
The coffee chain announced it was working with Microsoft’s Azure Blockchain Service to track and record coffee shipments on a distributed ledger. Microsoft describes the process as bringing “digital, real-time traceability” to supply chains.
The new platform will record information about shipments at every step of the journey. This in turn will provide a better overview of the sourcing and logistics involved in each cup sold.
The Starbucks app data will use the data to determine the origins of coffee shipments. It will also provide details on where the coffee was sourced and roasted. In addition, tasting notes will be supplied for each specific type of coffee sold.
The firm further stated that it expects the platform to be useful for coffee growers at the other end of the supply chain. Two important means will help accomplish this. Firstly, by providing more information on where their coffee beans travel across the supply chain. And secondly by recording which international markets are being served by their produce.
The app aims to pull together Starbucks sourcing, according to a press release. The firm currently draws from over 380,000 coffee farms each year.
SVP of Global Coffee and Tea at Starbucks, Michelle Burns, said the platform would also help empower coffee farmers globally. Needless to say, this forms an important part of the company’s ongoing commitment to ethical sourcing.
“I firmly believe that by empowering farmers with knowledge and data through technology, we can support them in ultimately improving their livelihoods.”
The app will also present consumers with details of the work Starbucks is doing in support of farmers in developing markets.
“This kind of transparency offers customers the chance to see that the coffee they enjoy from us is the result of many people caring deeply.”
The concept was first demonstrated to shareholders at Starbucks’ general meeting back in March. At present, there is no indication of a go-live date. However, the project is in an advanced stage of development. Starbucks is currently in active conversation with farmers in Costa Rica, Rwanda and Colombia on how they can make use of the technology.