Ethereum-Based Worker Health Tracker to Be Created with Support from ConsenSys, Harvard University
Global apparel company Levi Strauss and Washington-based think-tank New America are also part of the project, which is funded by the US federal government.
Blockchain company ConsenSys and Harvard University are joining forces for a project which aims to bring social innovation via distributed ledger technology (DLT). The initiative, managed by US think-tank New America, plans to utilize Ethereum (ETH) blockchain solutions in building a health system for tracking workforce welfare and working conditions across various industries, Joe Lubin, ConsenSys CEO and ETH co-founder, said in a press release.
In 2018, New America received a grant from the US State Department in the category of social innovation challenge. The non-governmental organization decided to use ConsenSys’s technology and the Health and Well-being Index of Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, making both entities its sub-grantees. US global apparel firm Levi Strauss, a partner in Harvard’s Index, has also joined the project and will have the system trialed in its factories in the coming months.
“For the last 25 years, work in supply chains has been monitored mainly by audits. We know from research and serious traumatic events that this system alone is not effective. A distributed system of inquiry on the blockchain that goes right to the source [workers] offers a new solution,” commented Eileen McNeely, director of Sustainability and Health Initiative for NetPositive Enterprise (SHINE) at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.
The four partners have decided to use blockchain because it can guarantee transparent solutions that are immutable and can be digitally authenticated. They want the new system to allow workers to submit information anonymously, which is a fundamental change compared to how existing systems operate. Moreover, the tracker should give employees access to working conditions at any time. As DLT tracks all activities, independent third parties can audit the health tracker.
“Ethereum is a technology that reduces the barrier for trust between two parties and will create a transparent environment for workers to securely and anonymously share critical information. Our goal is to develop, test, and scale a system that could empower employees, suppliers, and consumers to make informed decisions about factories, products, and brands,” Lubin said.
In the second quarter of 2019, three Levi Strauss factories in Mexico with around 5,000 workers will test the blockchain-powered system. A second pilot is due to take place in 2020.