"We want to create 'radical impact,' as we like to call it: create access to better quality coffee than the one sold by the leading multinationals and make sure that the people growing our coffee make a better living by bringing value-adding activities back to their countries. But, how do we measure and show what we actually do with Moyee?” said Guido van Staveren van Dijk, CEO of Moyee Coffee, describing one of the key challenges his company is facing. The project Moyee has been working on together with the Fairchain Foundation and bext360 since November 2017 will be an example for many companies taking their societal role — their purpose beyond profit — seriously.
Blockchain for most people, is still mainly known because of its use in cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin. But it has the potential to drastically change business practices when used in other applications. Moyee, for example, is using blockchain to capture all of the transactions linked to its coffee supply chain, from farmer to store. Using a simple phone, every single transaction in the value chain can be digitally assigned a unique code — a block — that is stored on so many different servers around the globe that all information linked to that specific block is secure and tamperproof. Nobody can change any information about that specific transaction without it being noted.
Every transaction or activity in the value chain following the previous one is assigned a different block, which contains all of the information of the previous blocks in sequence — hence the name blockchain. When a product is ready, the blockchain that belongs to that specific consumer-unit provides the exact, true and untampered information of all transactional activities that led to the end-product.
"Blockchain already allows us to see exactly what the price is that each farmer, selling us his coffee, makes. When we made it work, I was in our offices in Amsterdam. Suddenly, we could see every single contribution we made to the lives of our supplying farmers. I literally had tears in my eyes,” van Staveren van Dijk said.
"Soon, for every single unit we sell, you will be able to see how much money everybody makes on that specific pack, where and when the money is made and where the product comes from. Even our own salaries here in the Netherlands as part of that single unit will be visible. No more secrets, no more empty marketing stories, but complete trustworthy transparency of every single step from production to shelf."
Revolution times three
So, why will blockchain have such a big impact on marketing? Firstly, it will help facilitate traceability. Blockchain will make counterfeiting complicated. Moreover, many brands across industries still largely depend on certification of ingredients and materials as proof of certain quality standards and origins. Certification is often a lengthy, bureaucratic, costly process and is by no means free from falsification. By using blockchain, organizations are able to capture every single transaction along the full value chain — tracing the roots and roads of the product will be faster, easier and less susceptible to fraud.
Secondly, traders and middlemen will lose ground. Every single farmer or supplier in the chain will have access to and visibility of the global market and payments can be made using cryptocurrencies. It will be easy to identify a fair value for every single transaction in the chain, helping to distribute wealth more evenly. Matching supply and demand will be simpler and more efficient and negotiating power will be more equally distributed.
Lastly — and this is the main driver for purpose-driven brands such as Moyee Coffee — the end-consumer will have full visibility of the way a product is made using on-pack quick-response codes or future options giving even easier access to the information. We will be able to see exactly what a brand actually does and how it behaves from source to shelf. The purpose of the brand — why it exists — will meet the product truth — what and how it delivers — in the most transparent and reliable way possible. Moreover, interactions the brand has with its consumers can be kept safe. Brands and consumers can build a relationship of trust.
"We wanted to create a revolution in the coffee industry, making great coffee within a fair system. But it is hard to match the marketing budgets of the big multinationals,” van Staveren van Dijk said. “We now have something far more powerful than marketing budgets. We will be able to share the true human stories behind every single pack of Moyee, whilst they will be paying actors for made-up advertising. People will know the difference."
A revolution it will be indeed. Is your brand ready?