Estée Lauder Companies (ELC), the American multinational manufacturing giant and marketer for makeup, prestige skincare, fragrance, and hair care products, has established a blockchain platform to meet sourcing standards for its Madagascan vanilla skincare ingredient. 

A better grasp of the supply chain

By piloting the blockchain system, ELC seeks to enhance how it validates the authenticity and quality of vanilla in its products. As a result, it will have a better grasp of what transpires across the supply chain. 

Vanilla is a spice derived from orchids, and its essential oil is often used in beauty products. ELC uses vanilla across 125 products in Aveda, a natural cosmetics brand that figures among the many beauty companies it owns.

According to the announcement:

“The tracking technology has enabled the company to further verify compliance with sourcing standards in its supplier code of conduct, creating an immutable chain of record where claims made by each party cannot be undone later.”

The manufacturer sees the blockchain pilot project as a game-changer in the beauty industry. Furthermore, it is a stepping stone towards realizing its objective of developing robust social action plans and biodiversity for sensitive ingredient supply chains by 2025.

Complexities of the vanilla supply chain

ELC acknowledged that sourcing vanilla is not a walk in the park because it involves complicated issues, such as intensive farming, major climate challenges, and price fluctuations.

Therefore, it views the digital traceability offered by blockchain platforms as an amicable solution in scaling up the visibility needed to facilitate management. In addition, blockchain technology also mitigates complexities across the vanilla supply chain, triggered by unforeseen circumstances like global pandemics or climate change.

The project has already kick-started with 450 Madagascan smallholder farmers on board. The blockchain program deploys an ID card and mobile app given to the farmers to track the pods. 

This cutting-edge technology enables the verification of the vanilla’s quality and source from the farmer to the production facilities in Grasse, France, and Aveda’s manufacturing facility in Minnesota, US. 

In September, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations released a report dubbed The State of World Fisheries and Aquaculture, which viewed disruptive technologies like blockchain, the Internet of Things (IoT), robotics, and automatic identification systems (AIS) as game-changers in making the global seafood sector more sustainable and profitable.

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