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Fairness, Transparency and Traceability in the Coffee Value Chain through Blockchain Innovation


Abstract and Figures

Coffee is both one of the most widely consumed beverages in the world and one of the most important internationally traded commodities. However, the coffee value chain is opaque and unbalanced: less than 10% of the $200 billion industry value remains in producing countries. First, this article introduces the idea of a Commodity Fairness Index used to measure the inequality, or economic imbalance in a commodity value chain, and calculates it in the case of Colombian coffee. Secondly, the paper describes the system architecture of a web app built upon Hyperledger Fabric that paves the way to improve coffee farmers' lives by bringing transparency and traceability into the entire value chain and improving its fairness as a result. The application of blockchain technology to the coffee industry enables inclusive business models that reward quality and hard work, and in turn translates into greater trust, confidence and fairness across the entire industry as well as among end consumers.
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Fairness, Transparency and Traceability
in the Coffee Value Chain through
Blockchain Innovation
Federico Miatton∗†, Laura Amado
Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Barcelona, Spain,, Bogot´
a, Colombia
Coffee is both one of the most widely consumed beverages in the world and one of the most
important internationally traded commodities. However, the coffee value chain is opaque and unbalanced:
less than 10% of the $200 billion industry value remains in producing countries. First, this article
introduces the idea of a Commodity Fairness Index used to measure the inequality, or economic
imbalance in a commodity value chain, and calculates it in the case of Colombian coffee. Secondly, the
paper describes the system architecture of a web app built upon Hyperledger Fabric that paves the way
to improve coffee farmers’ lives by bringing transparency and traceability into the entire value chain
and improving its fairness as a result. The application of blockchain technology to the coffee industry
enables inclusive business models that reward quality and hard work, and in turn translates into greater
trust, confidence and fairness across the entire industry as well as among end consumers.
Index Terms
Coffee Value Chain, Commodity Fairness Index, Blockchain, Distributed Ledger Technologies, DLT,
Supply Chain, Colombia, Technology for Social Good, Inclusive Business Models, Hyperledger.
Proceedings of the IEEE 2020 International Conference on Technology and Entrepreneurship – Virtual (ICTE-V), Apr. 2020.
Correspondence: rand @
Honduras Colombia
Costa Rica
Papúa new Guinea
El Salvador
Fig. 1: The yellow “bean belt” represents the region of the world where coffee is produced; the
blue band highlights the main consuming countries.
More than 2 billion cups of coffee are consumed around the world everyday; coffee is one
of the most important commodities traded worldwide and the coffee industry generates around
$200 billions yearly [1]. Coffee is one of the most widely consumed beverages in the world,
and not only plays an important part in the daily routines of a significant share of the world
population, but it also has a significant social and economic impact for the families that produce
it, who are mostly smallholder farmers running plantations of less than 5 ha. Due to agroclimatic
conditions, 90% of the world’s coffee production takes place in 45 developing countries where
it employs 25 million farmers and provides a livelihood for more than 100 million people [1].
The so called “bean belt” is highlighted in yellow in Figure 1: this is the band around the
middle/southern region of the world, roughly bounded by the Tropics of Capricorn and Cancer,
that is ideal for coffee production. Over the past few decades, unfortunately, coffee has not
been a stable and profitable source of income for farmers. In fact, even though there are widely
varying levels of quality among beans, coffee is primarily bought and sold as a commodity
crop– meaning its sale value is tied to international futures markets, such as the New York
Stock Exchange, and is not reflective of an individual farmer’s true costs of production.
Low and volatile prices of green beans are not the only challenges that small growers face.
Other economical issues include limited market access for producers, lack of product and market
information, and exchange rate volatility [2]. Ironically, over the past two decades, the price paid
by consumers for a cup of cappuccino has grown 150% while the price paid to farmers for one
pound of beans has stayed flat or even decreased over the same period.
Indeed, in the last decade, coffee has been the only commodity that has been depreciating. As
an example, in March 2020 coffee was exchanged at $1.03 per pound, the same price marked in
February 1976 (not adjusted for inflation) [3]. The result is that coffee producers are continuously
living on a loss and depending on aid from governments. They are notoriously poorly paid in
a relatively rich industry where just between 5%-10% of the global industry value remains in
producing countries [1]. The reasons are manifold and complex [2]. Furthermore, the common
feeling that certifications, such as Fair Trade, can solve the problem is actually a misconception,
because certifications are paid for by the farmers and don’t reach the majority of growers. So,
why instead of thinking about social responsibility practices and certifications, which in most
cases don’t reach the majority of growers, don’t we redesign the entire coffee value chain to
make it completely transparent, efficient and able to generate win-win economic transactions?
[4] This question summarizes the motivation for this article.
The rest of the paper is organized as follows: Section II presents some related work; Section
III details the coffee value chain and introduces a novel Commodity Fairness Index that can be
used to measure the inequality among players in a commodity value chain and calculates it in
the case of Colombian coffee; Section IV introduces the main problems the coffee industry is
facing, discusses the design requirements and the system architecture of our solution, and finally
Section V draws the conclusions.
In this section, we present some of the related work found in the literature on the coffee value
chain and on blockchain applications for food and agricultural supply chains. The application
of blockchain to supply chain management has been a topic of much research in the past years,
and promises to deliver up to 15-20% cost savings along the supply chain. Even the World
Economic Forum has recently published a series of white papers covering specific governance
considerations for decision-makers deploying blockchain solutions throughout international trade
and supply-chain systems [5].
The authors in [6] present AgriBlockIoT, a blockchain based traceability solution that integrates
data from IoT devices along the value chain. They define a use case to track crops from farm
to table and compare the performance of two implementations in Ethereum and Hyperledger
Sawtooth. Another proposal [7] makes use of smart contracts on Ethereum to execute and
keep tracking of transactions. Similarly, another product traceability system, also based on the
Ethereum blockchain, is proposed in [8], in which all product interactions are recorded and kept
in the ledger through the use of smart contracts, thereby creating a sequence of events that
represents the entire product history and which can trace it back to the source.
An example of commercial application is given by [9], in which blockchain technology and
sensors are used to track caught fish. The objective is to ensure conformity to standards at
origin and throughout the chain, which is implemented in a secure way on the blockchain
without relying on a centralized infotracing system. Relying on blockchain permits to solve
the problem of the double-spending of certificates without a central verification authority. By
polling the unique ID of the object enables anyone to visualize the details about that particular
item. Another business application is provided by the IBM Food Trust [10], a network that
leverages Hyperledger Fabric [11] to connect participants across the food supply chain through
a permissioned, permanent and shared record of food system data. The result is a solution that
promises to increase food safety and freshness as well as to minimize waste.
Finally, a primer on the global coffee chain is provided by [12], which analyses in detail the
coffee value chain in the past forty years using methodological instruments drawn from the global
commodity chain analysis developed in the context of political economy. The article describes
the changes that affected the global coffee chain dramatically, as a result of deregulation, new
consumption patterns, and evolving corporate strategies. It also examines the various shifts that
occurred in coffee trade “regimes” throughout the past decades and focuses on market power
and corporate strategies in the current configuration of the global coffee value chain.
The coffee value chain is extremely complex, opaque and it involves a lot of hands. Figure 2
shows a view of the value chain, depicting all the main actors involved between the production
and the consumption of coffee. One additional step that is not shown in the figure is the potential
storage and warehousing of beans, which may occur at almost any stage of the chain, and may
either involve third parties or may be taken care of by the same players shown in the chain.
Mill Transport
Traders Exporters
Brokers Roasters
Packagers Distributors
End consumers
Fig. 2: The Global Coffee Value Chain.
Like in many commodities, the coffee value chain too starts with a large number of growers
that produce widely different quantities and qualities of coffee. In the case of coffee, there are
around 25 million farmers globally [1], of which around 500’000 in Colombia alone, mostly
smallholders. The beans reach global markets through a series of activities and processes that
make them suitable for incorporation into industrial operations [1], including processing at the
mill, packaging into coffee bags suitable for export, and transportation. In the following, a brief
description of each actor is provided.
1) Producers. Grow and process coffee, often with the use of third parties that do the fieldwork
and help them with all matters in the farm. Growers have the possibility to sell their crops
in cherries, wet coffee, or in parchment. Producers can sell coffee directly, to local traders,
to exporters at farm gate, to (or through) cooperatives.
2) Mill. The processing mill is where the parchment is removed from the bean. A coffee bean
has 5 layers of skins of different thickness and parchment is the last one. The process of
removing the parchment skin from the beans is called coffee hulling and the result is called
green (or raw) coffee, which is packaged into bags ready to be roasted, sold or shipped.
3) Brokers/Commodity Traders. Trade coffee through a variety of financial instruments, mostly
futures, impacting the price of the crop on international markets. Up to 40% of all coffee
trades proceed from financial transactions.
4) Transporters/Shippers. Deal with the transportation of the crops; physically move the beans
on the road, by plane, or by sea.
5) Exporters. Buy coffee directly from farmers, from cooperatives or from local traders. If
necessary, exporters may also take care of the hulling coffee process according to the
specifications provided by the importers. They also take care of the domestic logistics,
financing, and can sell it Freight On Board (FOB) at the port of origin.
6) Importers. Trade green coffee beans and bring them to the market for blends or single-
origin, depending on the requirements of roasters. Importers may also deal with the
financing of the crops, logistics and procurement at origin.
7) Roasters. Buy green (i.e. unroasted) coffee beans and roast them according to the tasting
profile that appeals end consumers. The type of roasting applied to the coffee (e.g. light,
medium, dark) strongly depends on the local market where the coffee is to be sold.
8) Packagers/Distributors/Retailers. Buy roasted beans or grinded coffee from roasters, store
it and have it ready for selling, normally in national markets.
A. The Commodity Fairness Index
This section introduces a Commodity Fairness Index (CFI) that provides a quantitative measure
of the equality (or fairness) among the main players in a commodity value chain. The motivation
comes from the Gini coefficient [13], which provides a statistical measure that is used to evaluate
the distribution of the income among the population of a country. Hence, the Gini index helps
measuring the inequality of the income of a country’s population. In a similar way to the Gini
index with income inequality, it is possible to measure the fairness in a commodity value chain.
The CFI tries to evaluate quantitatively the imbalance of a commodity value chain. In the
specific, the metric that we want to evaluate is the value capturing element of the players in a
given commodity value chain. Value capture is one of the three essential elements of a well-
defined business model [14]. Hence, the question that the CFI is trying to answer quantitatively
is: How unbalanced is the coffee value chain from the perspective of capturing value? In reality
one may also evaluate a number of additional metrics that characterize a commodity value chain.
Because of this, we should perhaps speak about a Commodity Fairness Indexes Set, rather than
just one single index. Nonetheless, we start by introducing the CFI, and we leave to future
work the measurement of additional metrics that we believe could aid in further evaluating a
commodity value chain.
The starting point for the definition of the CFI are Lorenz curves adjusted for this objective.
The original Lorenz curves used to calculate the Gini index plot the share of population against
the share of income received [13]. Here, instead, we are interested in plotting the share of the
population vs. the share of the value captured in the value chain. In the context of a value chain
the notion of population refers to the set of actors that have a stake in the value chain. In our
definition, the single atomic element for calculating the population is given by an individual or
% of players in the value chain
% of value captured
Commodity Fairness Index
Fig. 3: The Commodity Fairness Index is defined as the ratio between the areas of regions A
and A+B, as labelled in figure.
company that acts in her economic interest as an independent player in the value chain, interacting
with others. Atomic elements are, for instance, a single farm selling coffee, an exporting or
importing company (even though several people may be working for the same firm), a roastery.
The Commodity Fairness Index is defined in Equation 1 as the ratio between the area regions
of Aand (A+B)as illustrated and labelled in Figure 3.
In order to calculate Aand B, and plot the Lorenz curves of Figure 3, the percentage of value
captured per each player in the value chain is calculated over the total economic value generated
in the value chain. Clearly, the share of value captured in the y-axis must be evaluated in the
same currency for all players to ensure consistency. One additional refinement of the index may
come from calculating Aand Bat purchase parity power and we leave this to future work. The
CFI coefficient measures the inequality of the value capture part of a commodity value chain. A
CFI coefficient of zero expresses perfect equality, where all parties capture the same percentage
of value. On the other hand, a coefficient of one expresses maximal inequality, where only one
player captures nearly 100% of the value and the others none.
B. The Colombian Coffee Fairness Index
In this section we evaluate the CFI in the case of Colombian coffee. The data used to calculate
the CFI in this case are shown in Table I; these data come from various sources, mainly [2],
[12], [15] as well as from additional analysis we did on field in Colombia as well as our own
market research. The share of value captured by some players, especially those in consuming
countries, namely importers and roasters, may vary a lot and strongly depends on the consuming
market. The figures shown in the table refer to the European market and are averaged. Figure 4
shows the Coffee Fairness Index in the case of Colombian coffee, which turns out to be:
CF I = 0.8588 (2)
Colombian Coffee Value Chain
Player in the Value Chain Share of Value Captured Share of Value Chain Population
Producers 5% 89%
Mills/Processors 2% 5%
Exporters 9% 1%
Transporters/Shippers 7% 1%
Importers 32% 1%
Roasters 45% 3%
TABLE I: Data used to calculate the Colombian Coffee Fairness Index. Sources: [2], [12], [15],
own analysis and additional data coming from market research.
The CFI index given in Equation 2 is much closer to one than to zero, showing that a value
chain described by the data of Table 1 can be considered unbalanced and unfair. According to the
table above, in fact, almost 90% of the population is capturing barely 5% of the value created.
Because of this, one might have expected a similar result, at least qualitatively. Nonetheless, the
CFI helps in providing a quantifiable measure of the balance and fairness of the value chain.
Actually, Equation 2 simply highlights a situation that is well known in the coffee industry. In
fact, recent estimates show that at least 44% of the world’s smallholder coffee farmers are living
in poverty [16] and the reasons are manifold. Apart from the unequal income distribution, coffee
growers are bearing most of the industry risks. In addition to the price volatility and exchange
rate risk, producers must also shoulder the risk of losing their crops due to bad weather and to
fluctuating costs of production [17].
Fig. 4: The Colombian Coffee Fairness Index.
Furthermore, in Colombia specifically, farmers experienced an alarmingly reduction in land
ownership, which occurred throughout the past fifty years [15]. In fact, in 1970 53% of farms
were smaller than 5ha, figure that grew to 79.7% in 1997. More recently, namely in 2018,
this percentage further grew to 94%, of which 90% accounted for farms smaller than 3ha. One
additional metric that could aid in measuring the fairness of a commodity value chain could be
provided by the amount of risk shouldered by each player in the value chain versus the value
received from taking that risk. We leave this to future work.
As we have seen in previous sections, producers are the weakest link in the coffee value chain.
While they shoulder most of the industry risks, they capture the least value from their economic
activity. However, coffee is a business for anyone involved in its value chain; it is a business for
farmers as it is for roasters, importers and exporters. The goal of farmers is a reasonable profit,
not the aid, not the charity, not to be at the center of social programs [4]. In the end, farmers are
just another value-chain business partner and should be treated and rewarded accordingly [17].
We believe that the entire coffee value chain needs to be reinvented to become more efficient
and able to generate win-win economic transactions even for the weakest players in the chain,
the producers.
This section illustrates how the application of blockchain technology to the industry can
overcome some of the challenges described previously and provide a way to tackle the im-
balance in the coffee value chain highlighting a path that leads to creating a more balanced
and sustainable industry while simultaneously creating additional value in both producing and
consuming countries as well as at the consumer end. The first step towards doing so is to bring
transparency into a complex, opaque and closed value chain. Blockchain, or distributed ledger
technology (DLT), is a distributed environment that combines different well-known technologies
(such as hash functions, asymmetric cryptography, digital signatures, peer-to-peer networking)
to store any type of data in a distributed fashion among its participants. The data is organized in
transactions that are embedded into blocks. The DLT encodes the rules that nodes must obey in
order to participate in the network and create transactions that can be accepted into the blockchain
ledger. The ledger acts as a shared record of trust agreed upon by all participants.
A blockchain environment is called public if anyone can freely join its network as a node.
Otherwise, if only authenticated nodes are allowed to become part of the network, then the
blockchain is called permissioned. While public blockchains are still important and valuable
options for certain use-cases, we believe that permissioned DLT systems are in general more
suited to business applications, especially where some level of confidentiality or secrecy of
the transactions –or the transactions’ details– occurring in the system, must be ensured among
A. Design Requirements or: Why Blockchain?
We argue that the first step towards improving the balance and the fairness of the coffee
industry is to bring transparency into a complex, opaque and closed value chain. A permissioned
blockchain platform provides the ideal platform to achieve that. This choice follows from the
design requirements that were defined for the platform that we are building, and which are briefly
summarized in the following.
1) Delivering full transparency into the coffee value chain in order to enable everyone to
know exactly where the coffee came from and the conditions under which it was shipped.
Enabling full price transparency to ensure producers are paid fair prices for their crops.
2) Enabling process optimization and collaborative demand management between farmers and
buyers, which will enable to build better forecasting models, identify bottlenecks and in
turn unlock supply chain efficiencies.
3) Delivering end-to-end traceability and verified provenance throughout the entire supply
chain, in order to certify the coffee’s origin as well as its quality and freshness.
4) Enabling farmers’ visibility and making inclusive business models possible. This will in
turn create a positive virtuous cycle in which growers that produce great coffee are rewarded
accordingly, further motivating them to produce even better coffee.
5) Empowering producers to securely share audits and certificates, in order to prove that they
utilize and promote sustainable practices in their farm.
6) Digitizing the complex and time-consuming paper trail required to keep and facilitate as
the goods move along the supply chain from farm to the final consumer.
7) Ensuring data confidentiality, avoiding that anyone in the chain accesses business infor-
mation that should be kept private.
Changing the status quo in order to redesign the entire value chain to make it more transparent,
efficient and more inclusive is a collaborative process that requires the effort of all the players
involved in the supply chain and this won’t happen overnight. However, we believe that this is
a necessary step in order to ensure the sustainability of the coffee industry in the long term.
Enabling end-to-end traceability and full transparency into the whole coffee supply chain is key
for a number of reasons.
First, end-to-end traceability guarantees provenance and enables users to gain a clear view
on how long the coffee has been travelling. In the case of coffee, we tend to think that freshly
roasted coffee is important; however, roasting a freshly harvested coffee is even more important.
Secondly, being fully transparent about the quality and origin of the coffee enables to build trust
into the coffee chain, and gain consumer confidence. Furthermore, full transparency is essential
to ensure that growers are paid fairly for their crops and helps to ensure conformity to standards
at origin and throughout the chain and certify sustainability practices along the supply chain.
At the same time, full transparency also permits to discover inefficiencies and lack of sustain-
ability across the supply chain, and can also prove what players in the chain utilize and promote
sustainable practices. This is critical in an era when end consumers are becoming more and more
“sustainable-conscious” and are demanding that their retailers become more transparent about
their sustainability efforts [18]. Additionally, full transparency translates into full accountability
for every player of the chain, reducing waste and mitigating the possibility of food fraud. Finally,
the combination of verified provenance with complete end-to-end traceability and transparency
enables inclusive business models, in which coffee growers can be rewarded for the quality of
Fig. 5: System Architecture of a web app built on top of Hyperledger Fabric.
their work, enabling them to break free from the speculative pricing of commodity markets, on
which they have otherwise no control.
B. System Architecture and Message Flow
In this section we describe the system architecture of a web app built upon the Hyperledger
Fabric blockchain framework [11] that enables transparency and traceability into the entire coffee
value chain. Figure 5 depicts the simplified system architecture and the message flow of the
defined architecture. A brief description of the message flow in the system is provided in the
1) The message flow starts with a user interacting with the web-based app either through
her desktop or through her smartphone. The request to fetch the data –or to write the
data if she is allowed to do so– is sent to REST API, which is responsible for creating
a communication link between the server and the web/mobile based client. The API
acknowledges the request and assigns the mobile/web application a unique key which
will be used to receive the blockchain’s request later on.
2) The API uses a queue manager to store the request in a queue. The queue has a number
of transmission queues equivalent to the number of peers involved in the application. In
the example shown in the figure there are two companies participating in the network.
The two peers may be, for instance, one roaster and one producer/cooperative, hence the
queue manager in this case has two queues. In this case, examples of requests might be
as follows: enroll a farmer/roaster, query the history and details of a specific coffee batch
from the blockchain, or update the status and location of a shipment as it moves along the
supply chain.
3) Nodes receive and process the requests coming from the queue manager. In Fabric, a trans-
action proposal is first sent to multiple peers for endorsement. Endorsing peers simulate
transactions and sign those that are valid. Endorsers execute transactions to ensure their
correctness, while committers only verify endorsements and validate transactions prior to
committing valid blocks to the ledger. Hence, endorsers are a special kind of committing
peers as all peers can commit blocks to the distributed ledger.
4) After the proposer collects enough endorsements satisfying the endorsement policy, it
submits the transaction to be added to the Ordering Service. Note that, before any request
is processed, the Certificate Authority (CA) must authenticate a peer and approve the
request for that specific transaction.
5) The Ordering Service verifies the signatures and accepts endorsed transactions, arranges
transactions into a specific order, combine transactions into blocks and delivers the blocks
to the committing peers in the network, which in turn append the blocks to the ledger and
update it. It is the Orderer that decides the order of transactions and agrees it with the
orderers of other organizations.
6) The nodes then process the response to the original request and hold it in the distributed
memory-key database using the initial unique key.
7) In the end, the web/mobile app receives the response to its original request through the
REST API after querying the distributed ledger using the unique key. is a Colombian startup that delivers unprecedented transparency to the coffee value
chain and allows farmers to transact directly with roasters. The need for this solution is critically
important for Colombia in particular, where coffee is often the only viable option for rural people
to escape the entrapments of illegal crop markets and guerilla groups.
This article starts with an introduction on the coffee value chain highlighting the challenges
the industry is facing, especially at its weakest ring, the producers. In the past decades, in fact,
coffee growers have seen their margins gradually squeeze and disappear. Borrowing concepts
from economics, the article introduces the concept of Commodity Fairness Index, which is novel
to the best of the authors’ knowledge, that can be used to measure quantitatively the imbalance
in any commodity value chain. Further, the paper calculates it in the specific case of Colombian
coffee, highlighting a very unbalanced industry and showing that there is room for improvement
in order to making it fairer and more balanced. The article also provides a number of ways that
such index could be improved; we leave these avenues to future work.
While this newly defined CFI index only helps in measuring quantitatively the inequality in a
commodity value chain, blockchain technology actually paves the way to improving it by creating
more equity and fairness for the growers in the value chain. This will in turn enable to realize
a more balanced and sustainable industry, allowing end consumers to feel better about guzzling
their caffeinated beverages, while simultaneously creating additional value in both producing
and consuming countries as well as at the consumer end.
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... Further, asymmetrical power distribution in global supply chains lead to limited market access, price volatility risk, and lack of agency for smallholders. These combined disadvantages result in an uneven distribution of profits across the value chain, with actors upstream receiving the lowest share (Miatton and Amado, 2020). In this context, VSS can result in a supplier cost squeeze, as producers bear costs of certification schemes, alongside disproportionate business risks (Ponte, 2020). ...
... In light of existing power imbalances in coffee supply chains perceived by the coffee producers, blockchain technology may further exacerbate the distributional unevenness (Bernards et al., 2022). Most blockchain projects are designed and implemented top-down, representing a form of governance that does not challenge the existing power relations and unevenness of distribution of benefits in the value chain, unless developed in a collaborative process in which all actors can contribute to negotiating its design, implementation, and planned outcomes (Miatton and Amado, 2020). Therefore, we identify a number of design dimensions and implementation features that would contribute to a more equitable distribution of benefits along the value chain. ...
Full-text available
Transparency and equitability are key for improved sustainability outcomes in global value chains. Blockchain technology has been touted as a tool for achieving these ends. However, due to the limited empirical evidence, claims on transparency and sustainability benefits are largely theoretical. We lack an understanding of the benefits and drawbacks for upstream actors within global value chains and how this affects technology adoption. Addressing this gap, we conduct an empirical study to identify the drivers and obstacles for coffee producers in Colombia in adopting blockchain. We base our research on an event-driven and permissioned blockchain model, specifically designed for this research. Applying the Participation Capacity Framework and conducting semi-structured interviews with coffee producers and key informants, we analyze adoption attitudes towards the blockchain application. We further identify opportunities and drawbacks from the producers’ perspective. We set these findings in the context of the Global Value Chain research, considering the existing power relations in the coffee value chain. The top-down nature of blockchain projects raises distributive concerns, as resource investments, implementation burden, and risks are significantly higher upstream, whereas downstream lead firms will benefit most. We identify data squeeze as an additional channel of sustainable supplier squeeze relevant in the case of blockchain initiatives. Data squeeze implies lead firms turning the data obtained through, likely unpaid, labour of blockchain participants into a monetizable assets and marketable value through branding and advertisement. Based on the findings, we identify potential design dimensions and implementation features that can contribute to materializing producer benefits, thus mitigating the risk of a sustainability-driven supplier squeeze.
... For Thailand, traceability is part of the Common Code for Coffee Community (4C) standard, which could increase the price of coffee by 3 -5% and benefit the producers [33]. According to Miatton and Amado [34], their traceability system allowed users to (1) check the freshness of coffee, which affects the taste of coffee, (2) increase transparency in information about the quality and origin of coffee, which increases consumer confidence, and (3) help meet the needs of consumers who want manufacturers to care about the environment. In Thailand, Doi Saket Coffee employed a cloud-based traceability system (QR Trace on Cloud) and claimed that it was well-received in the market [35]. ...
... Pradana et al. [36], for instance, analyzed system requirements and proposed blockchain modeling for the coffee traceability information system. Miatton and Amado [34] adopted blockchain in the coffee value chain to make it effective, transparent, and capable of producing win-win business solutions. However, these works focused on technical aspects and did not explicitly involve users in their research. ...
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We explored the use of blockchain technology for traceability to improve the safety and value of food, focusing on the coffee supply chain as a case study. The main goal was to evaluate the feasibility in terms of design, perceived benefits, and challenges of applying blockchain and traceability from the users’ perspective. We implemented a prototype using a user-centered iterative interface design. Then we used the prototype to answer our research questions in mixed-method research, including in-depth interviews (10 participants) and a survey (350 participants) with stakeholders in the coffee supply chain in Thailand. The results showed that timeline-based design was preferred over map-based or text-based design for the visualization of traceability information and that blockchain was a promising technology, as 67% of the survey participants saw a positive influence of blockchain on the adoption of applications. The most notable benefits were origin checking and increasing product trustworthiness. The most notable challenges were inaccurate or incomplete information and the disclosure of trade secrets. More work is required to address the challenges for everyone in the supply chain ecosystem to adopt the proposed traceability system, including (1) providing trustworthiness and completeness of information by cross-checking with third parties or other users, (2) protecting sensitive information by aligning users’ interests or allowing control of information disclosure, and (3) educating and giving producers the motivation for the difficulty and the extra work.
... Recently, blockchain has been used in various chains for data traceability, such as food SC, [17] [27] [28], soybean SC [29], grain SC [16], wine SC [14], coffee product chain [21], food safety chain [22] [23], agriculture food chain [15] [19] [24] [26] [30], pharmaceutical and healthcare industry [8] [9] [18] [20] [31] [32]. The blockchain platforms cloud increase immutability of recorded transactions, which results in accurate information communication across stakeholders. ...
... Furthermore, it enhances transparency and protects data integrity. However, it seems that a greater number of private or production SC sectors have exploited the blockchain technology [14][15][16][17][18][19][20][21][22][23][24][25][26][27][28][29][30][31][32], yet this technology is barely used for product recall. ...
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In this paper, we propose a blockchain-based framework involving a traceability system for product recall (TSPR) designed to develop a traceability system integrated into the product recall system deployed to the Ethereum to ensure the transparency and visibility of the recall process for all stakeholders. The proposed system incorporates all four stakeholders, including supply chain (SC) participants, the food safety regulatory system, the admin, and end customers, into one chain. In the proposed TSPR system, individual components are developed to provide primarily product traceability events, product recall data and status, which are stored in the blockchain to authorized stakeholders. Moreover, the entity relationship and activity diagram of the TSPR system are developed. In the experiment, we develop three smart contracts of the TSPR system using Remix IDE running on an Ethereum test network. A scenario of the events of product traceability and recall in the SC is developed. Two criteria are used to test the validation of contracts: the correct operation and measurement of gas costs. The results show the correctness of three smart contracts, thereby ensuring that the stakeholder chain is provided with visibility and transparency primarily for the product recall process. Moreover, the summation of gas costs deployed in the TSPR system in Ethereum Mainnet for the regulator and manufacturer is $30.23 and $111.54, respectively. However, when using the Polygon Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM), the gas cost remains $0.022 and $0.083, respectively; thus, we recommend this system for stakeholders to help them achieve lower costs and increased economic worth.
... Sensitized by food poisoning cases, consumers nowadays require provenance information and transparency about the production of the food item [2]. Early adopters in the coffee industry are therefore building on blockchain technology (BCT) solutions to provide better visibility about the journey of the coffee product in their supply chain [3]. It has been demonstrated that the application of BCT to provide tracking, tracing and provenance information will result in increased consumer trust [4]. ...
... BCT is a trust technology through the application of its attributes of transparency, integrity of data, and immutability [26]. It enables the sharing of product trust attributes with consumers, making supply chain activities more transparent [3,27]. BCT with its trust attributes consensus, immutability of data, cryptographic security, and transparency could create a new trust platform for business transactions as the application of disruptive technologies such as BCT to the agri-food supply chain management can increase trust by generating closer relationships between the firms [28]. ...
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Firms in the agri-food sector have started implementing blockchain technology to both provide transparency over the supply chain transactions and to make trust attributes visible to consumers. Besides the well-known public blockchains such as Bitcoin and Ethereum, private- and consortium-type blockchain platforms exist. The latter ones are being operated in the agri-food ecosystem contributing to the vertically cooperated supply networks that are coordinated by a focal firm. Stakeholders’ attitude and behavioral intentions toward the use of the blockchain technology impact their use behavior. The results show that permissioned blockchain governance mechanisms with consensus and incentives to motivate stakeholders are lacking in private and consortium blockchains. This study closes a research gap as understanding how the stakeholder management approach can compensate for the lack of consensus mechanisms can provide managerial guidance toward the development of an effective stakeholder management strategy, which eventually can be provided for a competitive advantage. As there is little research on the role of blockchain as a novel governance mechanism, this research will contribute to the scholarly discussion toward a common understanding.
... By definition, crop traceability is the monitoring of crops from the farms to the market to promote food safety in the supply chain. Crop traceability is important to farmers and agribusiness owners due to the following reasons: (i) ensures the quality of agricultural products and achieves disease-free crop production [3], (ii) enables export to many countries through compliance with standards and policies [4] and (iii) discriminates real agri-products from counterfeits [5,6] also highlighted that the traceability system allows connection between farmers to the end consumers, without any intervention of a third party, which will build the consumers' trust in the product and strengthen the product brand. Hence, this paper reviews the available crop traceability system in smart farming and discusses possible solutions to improve the crop traceability system in smart farming based on the ICT perspective. ...
... There are already many platforms that use Blockchain technology to track food, such as wine [2], coffee [27], fish [6] and many others food products. ...
... Each one of the business partners may add information (add a block to the chain) and can consult the existing information in real time and with security [2]. Lately Blockchain is being used to trace all types of products, especially food related products as is the case of fish and fishery [10], coffee [11], wine [12], shrimp [13], etc... Some other approaches are more generic to trace any type of food, like [14], [15] and many others. In [2] the authors proposed a Blockchain-based platform to trace and assure an origin of any type of Protected Designation of Origin (PDO), Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) and Traditional Specialty Guaranteed (TSG) products. ...
... The blockchain technology can track the provenance of food, and thus help create trustworthy agro-food supply chains, and build trust between producers and consumers. It is a reliable source of truth about the state of farms, inventories, and contracts in agriculture [62]. ...
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Fairness in the agro-food system is an increasingly important issue. Ensuring fair and ethical practices in the agro-food chain is essential for sustainable, effective, and resilient agro-food systems. Identifying and understanding fairness-enabling practices and existing business applications in the agro-food chain is crucial to create a sustainable system. This research study is an extensive literature review analyzing academic and grey literature. Thus, this study aims: (i) to conceptualize fairness in the agro-food system; (ii) to identify the fairness-enabling practices contributing to a fair agro-food system; and (iii) to explore existing agro-food chain business applications relevant to achieving a sustainable and fair agro-food chain. Fairness-enabling practices have a vital role in achieving fairness in the upstream and downstream operational stages of the agro-food chain. On the one hand, the upstream cycle includes many elements, from a ban on unfair trading practices to ethical treatment to farmers, from transparency through technology and innovation to ensuring fair remuneration. The key goal is to improve the position of farmers in the chain. The study considers the following five upstream focused business applications to enable fairness practices: blockchain, cooperatives, interbranch organizations, business applications for small-scale farmers, and Fairtrade. On the other hand, achieving success in the downstream operational stage of the chain depends on fairness-oriented consumer food choice, consumer intention to buy fair food, consumer perceived value of fair food, and increased information and transparency on agro-food costs and price. This paper takes into account two consumer-focused business applications which provide downstream fairness practices: dual entitlement and dynamic pricing. To conclude, agro-food chain actors should learn how to find profit in fairness, and turn fairness-related costs into profitable business models.
We analyze firms' supply chain transparency and ethical production practices using a game‐theoretic approach. If the rival's supply chain is more likely to be ethical and the technology used to ensure supply chain transparency is efficient, ethical suppliers prefer to disclose their supply chain information, whereas unethical suppliers do not. The supply chain transparency level can be a signal of the supplier's ethical quality level, as both consumers' demand for ethical production and R&D efficiency for supply chain transparency increase. Consumers can distinguish ethical suppliers through their level of supply chain transparency because blockchain technology improves R&D efficiency.
We study a green investment problem of a sustainable supply chain with one manufacturer who decides whether to implement blockchain and one retailer who has emotional fairness concerns. Although blockchain adoption is costly, it can raise customers’ green sensitivity level and exempt a firm from environmental taxes. A fair-minded retailer cares about disadvantageous inequity in addition to monetary payoffs. We compare the supply chain performance with and without blockchain, each in combination with and without emotional fairness concerns. We show that the manufacturer has the incentive to adopt blockchain if the operational cost is below a certain threshold, and this threshold increases in both tax rate and the blockchain-driven increment in customers’ green sensitivity. We find that fairness can encourage blockchain implementation if and only if the blockchain-driven increment in customers’ green sensitivity level is nominal. Moreover, blockchain adoption may weaken the positive impact of fairness on the supply chain performance such as the mitigation of double marginalization and consumer welfare improvement. We also find that blockchain can encourage green investment and benefit the retailer only if the blockchain-driven increment in customers’ green sensitivity level is relatively high; that is, an “all-win” situation for the supply chain can be achieved by blockchain adoption. Extended studies on consumption-based emission taxes and blockchain setup cost are also provided.
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With the improvement of living standard, people begin to pay more attention to food safety and product quality. Therefore, for consumers, it is necessary to establish a reliable system that can trace the source of products. However, most existing traceability systems tend to lack transparency, data is primarily stored within the enterprise, and the cost of tampering with data is very low. Besides, the supply chain nodes are easy to evade responsibility when product safety or quality issues arise under the traditional centralized management model, and it is difficult to trace the root of issues. The development of blockchain technology provides us with new ideas for realizing the traceability of products in supply chain scenarios. Due to its characteristics of decentralization, transparency, and immutability, blockchain can be effectively used to alleviate the above problems. In this paper, we propose a product traceability system based on blockchain technology, in which all product transferring histories are perpetually recorded in a distributed ledger by using smart contracts and a chain is formed that can trace back to the source of the products. In particular, we design an event response mechanism to verify the identities of both parties of the transaction, so that the validity of the transaction can be guaranteed. And all events are permanently stored in the form of logs as a basis for handling disputes and tracking responsible entities. Furthermore, a system prototype is constructed based on the testing framework of Truffle. The contract code is deployed on a test network TestRpc that runs in local memory, and a decentralized web page interface is implemented based on the prototype. Finally, the system security analysis and experimental results show that our solution is feasible.
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The globalized production and distribution of agricultural produce bring a renewed focus on the safety, quality and validation of several important criteria in agriculture and food supply chains. The growing number of issues related to food safety and contamination risks has established an immense need for effective traceability solution that act as an essential quality management tool ensuring adequate safety of products in the agricultural supply chain. Blockchain is a disruptive technology that can provide an innovative solution for product traceability in agriculture and food supply chains. Today's agricultural supply chains are complex ecosystem involving several stakeholders making it cumbersome to validate several important criteria such as country of origin, stages in crop development, conformance to quality standards and monitor yields. In this paper, we propose an approach that leverages the Ethereum blockchain and smart contracts efficiently perform business transactions for soybean tracking and traceability across the agricultural supply chain. Our proposed solution eliminates the need for a trusted centralized authority, intermediaries and provides transactions records, enhancing efficiency and safety with high integrity, reliability, and security. The proposed solution focuses on the utilization of smart contracts to govern and control all interactions and transactions among all the participants involved within the supply chain ecosystem. All transactions are recorded and stored in the blockchain's immutable ledger with links to a decentralized file system (IPFS), and thus providing to all a high level of transparency and traceability into the supply chain ecosystem in a secure, trusted, reliable, and efficient manner.
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As one of the world’s most traded agricultural commodities, coffee constitutes a significant part of the overall economy and a major source of foreign revenue for many developing countries. Coffee also touches a large portion of the world’s population in the South, where it is mainly produced, and in the North, where it is primarily consumed. As a product frequently purchased by a significant share of worldwide consumers on a daily basis in social occasions, the coffee industry has earned a high profile that also attracts the interest of non-governmental organizations, governments, multilateral organizations and development specialists and has been an early adopter of Voluntary Sustainability Standards (VSS). Responding to the trend of increased interest on sustainability, it is therefore not surprising that coffee continues to be at the forefront of sustainability initiatives that transcend into other agricultural industries. Based on literature and authors’ experiences, this article reflects on the VSS evolution and considers a sustainability model that specifically incorporates producers’ local realities and deals with the complex scenario of sustainability challenges in producing regions. Agreeing on a joint sustainability approach with farmers’ effective involvement is necessary so that the industry as a whole (up and downstream value chain actors) can legitimately communicate its own sustainability priorities. This top-down/bottom-up approach could also lead to origin-based, actionable and focused sustainability key performance indicators, relevant for producers and consistent with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. The initiative also aims to provide a sustainability platform for single origin coffees and Geographical Indications (GIs) in accordance with growers’ own realities and regions, providing the credibility that consumers now expect from sustainability initiatives, additional differentiation options for origin coffees and economic upgrade opportunities for farmers.
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Coffee is a truly global commodity and a major foreign exchange earner in many developing countries. The global coffee chain has changed dramatically as a result of deregulation, new consumption patterns, and evolving corporate strategies. From a balanced contest between producing and consuming countries within the politics of international coffee agreements, power relations shifted to the advantage of transnational corporations. A relatively stable institutional environment where proportions of generated income were fairly distributed between producing and consuming countries turned into one that is more informal, unstable, and unequal. Through the lenses of global commodity chain analysis, this paper examines how these transformations affect developing countries and what policy instruments are available to address the emerging imbalances.
Whenever a business enterprise is established, it either explicitly or implicitly employs a particular business model that describes the design or architecture of the value creation, delivery, and capture mechanisms it employs. The essence of a business model is in defining the manner by which the enterprise delivers value to customers, entices customers to pay for value, and converts those payments to profit. It thus reflects management's hypothesis about what customers want, how they want it, and how the enterprise can organize to best meet those needs, get paid for doing so, and make a profit. The purpose of this article is to understand the significance of business models and explore their connections with business strategy, innovation management, and economic theory.
Coffee Prices -45 Year Historical Chart
  • Macrotrends
Macrotrends, "Coffee Prices -45 Year Historical Chart," Available online at coffee-prices-historical-chart-data.
Fueling the Revolution of the Coffee Value Chain: Fairness and Transparency in the Coffee Industry through Blockchain and Machine Learning
  • amado
L. Amado and F. Miatton, "Fueling the Revolution of the Coffee Value Chain: Fairness and Transparency in the Coffee Industry through Blockchain and Machine Learning," White Paper, Jun 2019.