Levi Strauss To Track Factory Workers’ Health And Well-Being Using Blockchain

Blockchain, Innovation, News | January 28, 2019 By:

New America, a non-partisan think tank in the United States, is teaming up with blockchain specialist ConsenSys and Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health to develop a blockchain-based worker well-being system.

In 2018, New America received an $800,000 grant from the US State Department to pilot a blockchain solution for a social innovation challenge. The solution will be developed by ConsenSys and will be based on the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health’s Sustainability and Health Initiative for NetPositive Enterprise (SHINE) Health and Well-being Index. The solution will be designed to provide a workforce-wide view of factory conditions and individual health and well-being.

According to the press release, SHINE has been implementing its Health and Well-being Index in supplier factories for American apparel company Levi Strauss & Co. since 2015, and nearly 9,000 workers have taken the survey to date. The three parties will be expanding the initiative’s work by developing a scalable and long-term mechanism to anonymously and securely track and measure worker well-being with an immutable and digitally authenticated blockchain solution.

ConsenSys Founder Joe Lubin said that the ethereum blockchain 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.

The first locations to use the blockchain-powered survey are three factories in Mexico producing goods for Levi Strauss & Co. and employing 5,000 workers. The first pilot is scheduled to be tested in the second quarter of this year and another pilot is planned for 2020.

“For the last 25 years, work in supply chains has been monitored mainly by audits,” said Dr. Eileen McNeely, Director of SHINE. “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. Most supply chain blockchain use cases are for material tracking, so leveraging this new technology for the evaluation of the human condition is an exciting innovation with broad potential for positive impact on worker well-being worldwide.”

Tomicah Tillemann, founder of the Blockchain Trust Accelerator at New America, said that providing a secure, standardized, auditable, and transparent platform through which worker survey data can be aggregated and analyzed will be possible with this solution.

“Blockchain technology offers an innovative way to better measure and track the health and well-being of factory workers,” said Tillemann.