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Policy Brief – Harnessing the Potential of Blockchain Technology for Due Diligence and Sustainability in Cotton Value Chains

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Policy brief – Harnessing the potential of blockchain technology for due diligence and sustainability in cotton value chains

Traceability and transparency in the garment and footwear sector have become a priority for consumers, governments and the industry due to the environmental footprint and social impacts resulting from decades of unsustainable consumption and production practices.
There are huge advantages that can be derived from advancements such as blockchain technology, as they have the potential to build trust and advance due diligence while connecting actors of fragmented and opaque value chains in this industry. Nonetheless, these solutions may be challenging for small-scale actors and vulnerable groups due to the digital gap, implementation costs and required skills. Policymakers and regulators have a role to play in spurring coordinated action to scale up such solutions and to ensure that the digital transformation can support higher sustainability in the industry, leaving no one behind.
This policy brief provides highlights and recommendations emerging from the ongoing implementation of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) pilot project on a blockchain system for traceability and due diligence in cotton value chains, launched in connection with the UNECE-United Nations Centre for Trade Facilitation and Electronic Business (UN/CEFACT) initiative “Enhancing traceability and transparency of sustainable value chains in the garment and footwear sector”.
Document ECE/TRADE/C/CEFACT/2021/12 is submitted by the secretariat to the twenty-seventh UN/CEFACT Plenary for information.