Canada urged by IBM to use blockchain in the distribution of legal cannabis
IBM, a multinational technology company, has recently issued a proposal urging authorities in British Columbia to apply blockchain technology to the legal distribution of cannabis.
The document has been issued at a relevant time, with the province being in the midst of preparing its regulatory framework for the distribution of cannabis.
Within the report, IBM advocates that the use of blockchain within the cannabis supply chain, from seed to sale, would have a significant impact in the way of counteracting its illegal distribution.
“IBM suggests Blockchain is an ideal mechanism in which BC can transparently capture the history of cannabis through the entire supply chain, ultimately ensuring consumer safety while exerting regulatory control – from seed to sale,” IBM states.
This is for three key reasons: it is a technology that can be distributed across an entire network, transactions are immutable once in the ledger, and it is transparent, ensuring a consensus between all parties.
“Blockchain is rapidly becoming a world leading technology enabling the assured exchange of value in both digital and tangible assets, while protecting privacy and eliminating fraud,” the report continues.
“Its relevance to regulating cannabis is similar to its many chain of custody applications in areas such as pharmaceutical distribution and food chains. The core to those supply chains is the same, assuring health and safety of consumers, preventing fraud and counterfeiting while creating a foundation of transparency upon which to base regulation.”
Although blockchain remains a relatively new and evolving technology, many parties, including IBM, are recognising its benefits across a number of industries. JPMorgan has recently launched its own blockchain-based network, whilst R3 has partnered with 22 leading banks to create an international payments network.
Further, with such big name firms adopting the technology, Ivy League schools in the US have started offering blockchain-specific courses, as it remains clear that it will remain a large part of the world of technology throughout the coming decade.
Gartner: Women in supply chain at five-year high
Women now represent a greater percentage of the supply chain workforce than at any other point in at least the past five years, according to a recent Gartner survey.
The Women in Supply Chain Survey 2021, conducted by Gartner and Awesome, surveyed 223 supply chain organisations with more than $100m in annual revenue from February through to the end of March 2021.
- Women represent 2% more of supply chain workforce than in 2020
- Women now account for 42% of the workforce
- Number of women in exec-level positions declined by 2%
- Just 15% of top leadership are women (17% in 2020)
- 84% of organisations say COVID-19 did not impact efforts to advance women
It found that women now represent two per cent more of the supply chain workforce than in 2020, accounting for 42%, compared with 39% last year. Dana Stiffler, Vice President Analyst with the Gartner Supply Chain practice, says the impact of COVID-19 on supply chain was significant, though different to other sectors.
"Contrary to other industries, supply chain’s mission-criticality during the COVID-19 pandemic has meant that many sectors did not reduce their workforce, but rather continued to hire and even faced talent shortages, especially in the product supply chains," she said. "This resulted in many women not only standing their ground in supply chain organisations but increasing their representation in organisations. We also recorded a record number of specific commitments and supply chain-led actions and saw existing programs starting to pay off."
Supply chain still lacks women in executive leadership
But the elephant in the boardroom remains. Though the figures present a positive step towards greater diversity and gender equality at all levels, the number of women in executive level positions declined by two per cent in the past year. Women represent just 15% of the upper echelons of supply chain leadership. Gartner did however record a rise in women at all other levels of leadership.
The vast majority (84%) of organisations surveyed said the outbreak had no discernible impact on their ability to retain and advance women. But more than half (54%) admitted that retaining mid-career women was becoming increasingly difficult. A lack of career opportunities was cited as the biggest challenge to this, while other blamed a lack of development opportunities.
Despite these challenges, companies of all sizes are becoming broadly better at gender diversity. Around a third more said they had a targeted initiative focused on attracting women and advancing their careers.
Stiffler said a push towards measurable and formal initiatives is at least pointing in the right direction: “It's encouraging to see that the larger share of this jump was for more formal targets and specific goals on management scorecards. For these respondents, there is greater accountability for results — and we see the correlation with stronger representation and inclusion showing up in pipelines.”