In these times when everything happens instantly, we’re often quick to act and slow to think. (Yes, we’re including ourselves….) Take shopping, for example. We know that some companies are not as responsible as others when it comes to the welfare and safety of their employees and the environmental costs of their manufacturing process. But how can we find out which companies are aligned with our own values and priorities?
As the founders of Provenance will tell you, “We live in the world we buy into.” The company is a portal that allows consumers to see where the products they buy come from and how they are made. It also lets companies share the origins of the items they are selling, so they can build up customer trust and a reputation for quality as well as conscience.
Provenance reminds us that our daily purchases do have an impact, even though we tend to see them as isolated actions. “Every day we buy products that impact our planet,” say the Provenance team. “Opaque supply chains are devastating environments and compromising the well-being of people, animals, and communities. Every product and business is different, but rarely do we have the information we need to make positive choices about what to buy.”
“Transparency” is the Provenance watchword. The company uses its technology to share stories about products and the people who make them, giving customers a look inside the production process—and a reminder that everything is connected, even if we don’t always remember that.
So how do you access this product history and origin story? As a customer, you can use Provenance’s plug-ins when you shop online, or watch out for the special product tags that give you a unique tracking ID number for your item.
Provenance is also working on a cool search feature that lets you explore similar items or companies, and you’ll be able to add your own observations on a product and also give feedback or ask questions to the company that made it. If something can be “virtually hands-on,” this is it!
Two more ways you can be involved: Provenance is looking for brand ambassadors to share information about its mission where they live or in the field they work in, and the company wants people to “celebrate great making with the Project Provenance Collective by using the #PPCO hashtag every time you encounter great goods being made, anywhere in the world.”
Businesses can use Provenance’s complementary tools to share their company mission and ethos by creating what Provenance calls “an interactive digital ecosystem that builds trust.” The production chain is fully documented and can be verified. Companies can also use Provenance’s high-tech platform for seamless collaboration between producers, suppliers, retailers and customers.
Nonprofits, too, can use Provenance, which “helps reinforce the work of sustainability standards organizations, auditors, NGOs and governments by making information about businesses and products open, accessible and trustworthy,” the company says. It aims to augment traceability and trust by making it easier to track certifications, awards and marques digitally.
Want to learn how a product is tracked? Check out Provenance’s report on tracking tuna.