Coca-Cola turns to blockchain in fight against forced labour

The labour practices in Coca-Cola have long fallen under scrutiny

Coca-Cola is to utilise blockchain's digital ledger technology to create a secure registry for workers through a partnership with the US Department of State to combat forced labour.

The project will look to create a secure registry for workers and their contracts using blockchain's ‘validation and digital notary’ capabilities. The Department of State will support by providing expertise on labour protection.

The labour practices in Coca-Cola have long fallen under scrutiny. In 2012, the company was hit by allegations that African migrants harvesting oranges for its products in southern Italy were forced to live in squalid conditions, while two Coca-Cola production and distribution centres in Brazil were accused of subjecting workers to ‘slave-like labour conditions’ in 2016.

"We are partnering with the pilot of this project to further increase transparency and efficiency of the verification process related to labour policies within our supply chain,” said Brent Wilton, Coca-Cola’s director of global workplace rights.

The Coca-Cola Company previously committed to conducting 28 third-party due diligence studies by 2020, with a focus on child labour, forced labour and land rights related to its sugar supply chain.

Approximately 25 million people work in forced-labour conditions worldwide, according to the International Labour Organisation.

Coca-Cola expressed interest in using blockchain to map its customers' paths to purchase back in 2016.

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