‘Wood-chain project’: the technology for strengthening traceability and PEFC certification

Blockchain technology applied to forestry and forest sector may allow a transparent and complete supervision of wood and timber products traceability.

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Photo: Pxhere

Nowadays, forest certification schemes and European regulations demand an increasing capability for tracing and linking information along the supply chain of wood-based products. The “Wood-chain project”, funded by PEFC International, will test and stimulate the application of block chain (BC) technology as an innovative IT solution for forestry and wood applications. BC technology may allow a transparent and complete supervision of wood and timber products traceability, fully compatible with PEFC Chain of Custody certification (CoC).

As a result, BC could be used to automate and facilitate the operations of CoC, maintaining the maximum level of security in the process. Furthermore, this technology can record all the production chain steps, making them easily and readily visible, e.g. on a mobile phone, to professional traders as well as end users.

The possibility to make the entire production chain (from the forest to the finished product) fully evident to each user is an element of clarity that can help to inform sustainable forest management and to promote PEFC standards. Moreover, data collection and availability could be easily used in the evaluation of measurement of the impact throughout all the production phases.

The project, implemented by Replant Srl, Foodchain spa, La Foresta, Consorzio forestale Alta Val Susa, F. Roche sas,  Società cooperativa Silva and Kaboom Srl with the support of PEFC France and PEFC Italy, will involve PEFC certified actors all along the forestry production chain (forest owners, forest managers, primary and secondary processing).  These stakeholders will assess any constraints or additions necessary for the use of the tools developed. The test area will be set in Piedmont region and in adjacent French departments thanks to the stable collaboration and commercial agreements of Italian partners of the project with French companies.

Looking to the future, the BC system does not “only” offer traceability but is also a potential tool for ecosystem services. If adopted by PEFC at national and international level, BC could be used as a basis for carbon credits exchange systems and for the enhancement of avoided impacts. The system, developed to manage and exchange virtual currency, would be directly usable on dedicated and guaranteed carbon emission trading platforms.