Aveda * is embarking on blockchain technology to trace its vanilla bean supply chain. Owned by Estée Lauder Companies, the company launched a pilot project in February 2019 with blockchain company Wholechain.
At the time, each of its Madagascar vanilla bean producers received a digital identity card that would transmit their unique traceability code. This was based on a traditional stamp identification system called Fitomboka, via a QR reader.
Farmers will take their crops to a local cooperative for sale, which is when they can record sales via the QR code. This information is then recorded via blockchain technology, making it tamper-proof. From the moment the vanilla leaves the hands of the producer, it is then followed through the supply chain on the blockchain to validate its quality and authenticity. Madagascan vanilla is a staple ingredient in 125 Aveda products and is part of the brand’s ingredient history. The first products made using blockchain-traced vanilla will start appearing on store shelves in the second quarter of 2021.
Vanilla, hotbed of crime and corruption
Madagascar produces 80% of the vanilla in the world, with a stock retention phenomenon aimed at boosting prices. Between 2013 and 2017, vanilla prices increased 12-fold. Madagascar faces rampant government corruption and instability, a weak justice system and problems with massive deforestation, according to the CIA World Factbook. As a result, vanilla crops have become a hotbed of crime, corruption, and violence.
From a consumer perspective, Aveda expects an online activation sometime in 2021 and customers will be able to see the journey of the vanilla bean from Madagascar to its plant in Minnesota. The ability to trace the roots of a product through its packaging will not be available, although Aveda is studying the viability of providing this information in the future. Prima, the skin care and ingestible CBD brand, and Doterra, the essential oil brand, have both used QR codes on their packaging so that consumers can see for themselves the purity and consistency. batch code of an ingredient.
* Who is Aveda?
Aveda Corporation, better known as Aveda, is an American cosmetics, perfume and hair care company. Based in Blaine, Minnesota, the company was founded by Horst Rechelbacher in 1978. It has been a subsidiary of Estée Lauder since its takeover in 1997.
For Aveda, which is distributed in more than 65 countries, the supply chain is a complex and sometimes opaque journey. Aveda works with 450 farmers in Madagascar who harvest the vanilla bean which is then shipped to Grasse, France and ultimately Blaine, Minnesota, where Aveda makes its American products. The journey from Africa to Europe and then to the United States takes about six months, said Greg Polcer, vice president of global supply chain for Estée Lauder Companies.