The United Nations, through the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), is working with the Mongolian state and cashmere farmers to deliver sustainable cashmere with Ethereum-based blockchain. The pilot project registers and tracks cashmere products in order to ensure they are truly sustainable and of high quality.
Cashmere is Mongolia’s second largest export in terms of trading volume and a top export product for small herders. In collaboration with technology provider Convergence.tech, the pilot uses blockchain to interact with more than 70 different herders and eight cooperatives in Mongolia. A simple Android app is used to register their cashmere along with RFID tags for end-to-end supply chain tracking.
By highlighting producers who are following sustainable practices, the project will help consumers reward sustainability by paying price premiums for products marked as economically, environmentally and socially beneficial. Cashmere herders who comply with sustainability standards will have a higher chance of selling their products at more expensive rates.
The pilot project has tracked 471 kilograms of cashmere from Mongolia so far, from nomadic small-scale farmers to a processing factory and ultimately to end consumers. The project encourages herders to have their cashmere marked in return for training on sustainability practices and price premiums.
The UN has been looking for new blockchain-based solutions to benefit society in various areas such as food assistance, gender equality, education development, aid transfer and remittance processing.
The UN Innovation Network hosts regular knowledge sharing sessions to review and discuss the application of new innovation trends and how they can contribute to achieving the SDGs. The network has provided courses to educate UN staff in blockchain.
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