Can a traceability software really combat greenwashing?
Updated: Aug 28
Businesses across Agri supply chains, textiles, electronics, retail, construction, consumer goods etc. have been making sustainability claims about some part of their supply chain; be it- sourcing, processing, transportation or manufacturing. Customers at the end of the supply chain are left with the mammoth task of identifying which product they will buy – based on a plethora of choices – sustainable product being one of them.
With companies now green hushing, green shifting, green crowding, green rinsing, and green labelling, greenwashing is getting harder to spot. Misinformation is spread specifically by putting out vague, unsubstantiated claims of products being ‘eco’ and the like – & making a profit while at it without being held to account. These (falsified) sustainability claims blindside consumers and threaten to sabotage the good work of a few companies.
Offering robust evidence of supply chain transparency and product traceability has never been more imperative to manage this greenwashing & allow customers to make a conscious purchase decision based on true understanding of the entire supply chain. What is available in the name of transparency today is claims supported by audits and certifications. Audits that take place once or twice a year – based on which certifications are provided- typically these validate only a small sample of the supply chain.
Most traceability software’s involve giving traceability and transparency by uploading paper based proofs to a digital solution – companies upload paper proof of their audits, certifications, raw material etc. This allows makers to claim digital traceability when in reality it is no different to paper based proofs. It leaves ample room for ambiguity. Remember- most greenwashing does not involve an ‘absolute false statement’ or an 'absolute lie', but it is misleading at its best, without really telling a lie.
If we are to account for the full end- to end supply chain, we need a traceability solution that is used as part of the operations of any company- from the time raw material is sourced, through its processing and to final product making. Something that is a one-on-one material traceability solution versus a mass balance material traceability solution. This is when we would really combat greenwashing, wrong sourcing claims and wrong + duplicated claims on any credits- green, carbon, plastic, waste, EPR etc.
Satma CE is a SaaS based software that is a core operational tool, which companies use right from the time raw material is sourced (allowing vendor management), create details on goods received, GRN’s, invoices, live quality check on the material received. It allows you to categorise material based on various parameters only once (helping avoid duplication). Inventory management which forms a core part of the software, further allows companies to go beyond just traceability and compliance reporting to live dashboard management of their material on a daily basis.
Once material received is ready for processing or the next step in its life cycle the stages are well defined within the software for most industries to capture details of raw material to product making- giving stakeholders complete visibility into the supply chain.