The Value of Provenance and Transparency
Sustainability, conscious living, transparency are all buzz words that seems to be everywhere at the moment.
On one hand witnessing an increase interest in environmentally and ethically conscious brands and business practices is emblematic of a positive change.
On the other hand, with sustainability becoming fashionable we run the risk of falling for empty gestures and greenwashing strategies that have more to do with marketing than with true sustainability.
Sustainability is at the core of what we do so we want to highlight what it means to us and how we are implementing it through provenance and transparency.
If you ever tried to find out more information about the pieces you buy, beyond where and what they are made of, you probably didn’t get too far. Often the information regarding specific objects is vague at best, supply chain and environmental impact of the production is far from transparent and it’s hard to trust the little details that are shared with us.
We are increasingly motivated to be more environmentally and ethically conscious and to exercise our power and voice through the products we buy.
My first question, as a customer, has always been why should we be responsible to look for information about supply chain and business practices?
The process of understanding supply-chain information is frustrating and time consuming. This is the number one reason why we pledged to provide clear and accessible details on every product we sell.
We call it PROVENANCE.
Here is how it works.
At Revolution of Forms we believe that a number of key technologies are available today which can radically improve transparency and traceability of the supply chain.
Our current solution uses the public IOTA blockchain to record each order that we have placed with our partner brands. Once the artisans have completed the products on the order these details are then also recorded on the blockchain. Finally, the designers receive and check the items before shipping to us in London. All of these records are timestamped, and a link is provided in the Product Details section of every product we sell so it can be checked ‘at the click of a button’ by anyone.
As an example, our initial Onora order records can be seen on the IOTA blockchain here: https://bit.ly/34TWSNc.
(note: it can take a minute for the records to be retrieved from the blockchain.)
On top of supply chain information we also provide details on the designers and techniques used for each object.
Full digital provenance has multiple benefits for all partners involved:
- Proof of authenticity
- Instant access to verifiable supply chain information
- Essential connections and meaning through the story behind the techniques and the artisans
Designers & Artisans
- Protect their intellectual property and authorship by identifying them as makers
- Provides exposure and give credit to essential contribution in the creative process
- We believe Provenance will further our mission to celebrate and promote crafts
We are passionate about telling the stories behind every object, but we believe that accountability and transparency are key, and we want to make the information easily accessible.
This is just the start.
As we grow our business, we hope to expand the solution in a number of ways. Firstly, we want to enable the artisans themselves to record when they have completed their products. The artisans all have smart phones so we believe we can achieve this with a simple App.
Through the use of cryptographic keys that are built into the App the record will be linked to the artisan, similarly to how a bank account is linked to a customer. This will provide a higher level of authenticity of the records and will help to protect the work of the artisans. We also want to expand the system so that we can record details of techniques used for the products as well as providing traceability of the raw materials used.
The long-term vision is to build a system that provides a fully trusted record of authentication for the artisan products. A system that our customers can use to check that the products they are buying are genuine and to know exactly how they were made. More importantly the system should help to protect the value of the artisans work and the traditional techniques they use.
Finally, we aim to offset the carbon footprint of shipping, which something we still need to work on and can only be possible with more resources.
Thank you for reading and get in touch if you want to know more of if you have any questions.
If you want to learn more about us and the brands we work with head over to these pages:
Photos courtesy Colorindio & Ac Palma