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How can we go beyond compliance to create transparent products and drive innovation?

by Futures Centre, Jul 14
4 minutes read

We are entering an era of radical transparency. 

The rise of new technology such as blockchain and genetic tagging, combined with demands from consumers and investors to know how their products are made, has driven an uptick in transparency and companies investing in traceability. 

The inquiry 

Together, Forum for the Future and Capgemini are exploring a number of critical questions related to the challenge of achieving radical transparency and the potentially transformative outcomes from achieving it in our ‘Unlocking Systemic Innovation’ series throughout 2023. We are asking three central questions:

  1. How do we overcome the lack of standardisation and build the evidence and business case to scale transparency and traceability across complex product portfolios?
    For instance, how can transparency add value to the consumer proposition or deliver wider objectives such as carbon reduction or human rights protection? And how might organisations collaborate to share the financial and resource burden?
  2. How can we make it easier to implement transparency and traceability at scale?
    Including, how to engage suppliers to be part of the change – ensuring the right incentives are in place, requests from their supply chain are harmonised, and good practices are not extractive or overwhelming for partners?
  3. How can transparency and traceability be used to move beyond compliance, inspiring organisations to innovate through collaboration?
    For instance, how might the data, processes and relationships built through traceability unlock greater progress on circularity, in a just and equitable way?

The potential role of collaboration in unlocking implementation

Increasingly, organisations are collaborating with peers and within supply chains to tackle the barriers slowing down progress toward transparency and traceability. In some cases, companies are creating innovative solutions as a response to newly available information. For example, Samsung and Patagonia have paired up to create an innovative solution to reduce the amount of microplastics in textiles entering the ocean. And Nestle, UK dairy co-operative First Milk, and Agricarbon are working closely together to support First Milk’s network of farms to measure and improve their soil health and carbon sequestration. 

This inquiry aims to explore where innovative collaboration might help unblock some of the barriers towards transparency and traceability and to discuss what wider goals they might help to achieve. 

How to get involved

We’d love to hear your views on the above questions. Let us know: what have you seen in your work? What would greater transparency help you achieve? And what examples have you seen of greater transparency being used to identify and address sustainability issues?

Join the discussion in the box below or reach out via email with any reflections, questions, or examples of organisations you see making inspiring moves around traceability and transparency. 


About the Unlocking Systemic Innovation series 

This inquiry is the second in a four-part series that Capgemini and Forum are exploring throughout 2023 – aiming to find opportunities for collective action and progress on some of the biggest sustainability challenges, including:  

  • Traceability and Transparency Transforming Consumption Sustainable Procurement Adaptation for Resilient Supply Chains 
  • We are gathering reflections on these topics through the Futures Centre and Forum’s social media channels at regular intervals during the year. We’ll also hold conversations with organisations grappling with these challenges, including trailblazers demonstrating the art of the possible and the ESG co-benefits available in tackling these issues.  The insights from each event will be shared in a Futures Centre blog at the close of each inquiry.  Get in touch 
  • To learn more about the series and/or Forum for the Future’s work helping businesses transform, please contact Jordan McKay, Forum’s Principal Sustainability Strategist at j.mckay@forumforthefuture.org or get in touch via LinkedinTo learn more about Capgemini’s solutions for designing and scaling systemic impact on value chains, please contact Laura Gherasim, Director of Sustainable Futures UK at laura.gherasim@capgemini.com or get in touch via LinkedIn
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