One major roadblock to finding safe, high-quality products is lack of information. To help combat this, the Fair Tracing Project supports ethical trade through digital tracing technology, which gives each product a unique identity that allows it to be tracked through the market chain from producer to consumer.
The Fair Tracing Project aims to create a stream of information between producers and consumers. Photo By Jake Liefer/Courtesy Flickr.
Conceived by researchers at the Oxford Internet Institute, the project operates on the principle that knowledge is power: Tracing technology tells a consumer almost anything she wants to know about a product: where and when it was created, how much it cost to make as well as information about the individual creator and the environment he or she works in—which in turn empowers the customer to make an informed decision when shopping.
Digital tracing benefits everyone in the fair trade market. In the past, digital tracing has been used primarily by companies trying to gather information on consumers. By turning the use of digital tracking around—allowing consumers to scrutinize companies—fair trade companies can show that they’re not only technically capable of keeping up with other markets, but that they’re also ahead of the curve on adapting to new technology.
The Fair Tracing Project is still in development. Researchers are looking into the needs, resources and capabilities of producers, consumers and importers of fair trade goods and are meeting with designers and diverse stakeholders to make the project a reality.
What do you think? Would you use this technology once it becomes available? Leave me a comment in the comments section.