Its been a while so I think you may enjoy this blog

We talk a lot in the procurement world about ethical procurement and how important it is to all the buyers in the modern era. Provenance is an element that can assist with the transparency of how the goods and services are manufactured and delivered by a supplier from any Industry.

How does Provenance work and do we really care about this when we buy something?

Lets start with a definition – what is Provenance?

Provenance (from the French provenir, ‘to come from/forth’) is the chronology of the ownership, custody or location of a historical object.[1] The term was originally mostly used in relation to works of art but is now used in similar senses in a wide range of fields, including archaeologypaleontologyarchivesmanuscripts, printed books, the circular economy, and science and computing.

The primary purpose of tracing the provenance of an object or entity is normally to provide contextual and circumstantial evidence for its original production or discovery, by establishing, as far as practicable, its later history, especially the sequences of its formal ownership, custody and places of storage. The practice has a particular value in helping authenticate objects. Comparative techniques, expert opinions and the results of scientific tests may also be used to these ends, but establishing provenance is essentially a matter of documentation. The term dates to the 1780s in English. Provenance is conceptually comparable to the legal term chain of custody.

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Provenance was designed to gain trust through authentication and transparency. Since the 19th Century it has been a key part of the art world both from an ownership and collection function. It is second nature for Museums, Galleries in the Art world and has expanded to other sectors within these markets.

Researching the provenance of paintings — The principles of archival provenance were developed in the 19th century by both French and Prussian archivists, and gained widespread acceptance on the basis of their formulation in the Manual for the Arrangement and Description of Archives by Dutch state archivists Samuel Muller, J. A. Feith, and R.

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There is a great article on “How provenance affects the value of art & collectibles ”  and it explains why in this world it is so important.

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So how important is the adoption of Provenance in the Procurement and Supply Chain World?

Harvard that explains “the why as”

“The origins of a company’s products used to be pretty murky. Beyond the supply chain function, virtually no one cared. Of course, all that’s changed. Consumers, governments, and companies are demanding details about the systems and sources that deliver the goods. They worry about quality, safety, ethics, and environmental impact. Farsighted organizations are directly addressing new threats and opportunities presented by the question, “Where does this stuff come from?”

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Remember the iPhone factories and suicides’ of staff, what about modern slavery and poor working conditions in the fast fashion industry to name a couple of relevant examples of why it is import to have transparency in our supply chains.

Safety has also been a criteria for Provenance in the supply chain.

Food safety has been see as high risk world wide due to many stores of contaminated products. Who can forget in late 1980s Bovine spongiform encephalopathy BSE or commonly know as Mad Cow disease in the U.K? I still cant give blood here in NZ!

New Zealand has a reputation for having rigorous food safety standards and high-quality produce. Consequently, there is a high risk of food fraud, and food contamination incidents around the world are driving the need to protect this reputation.

We are even more interested now on paddock to plate provenance of our food. A nice rack of lamb on are plate and I can hear someone thinking! Was it from a lamb that was fed on grass grown organically – without pesticides? Was it ethically slaughtered in an abattoir ? How was it package? ( no plastic ) and how was it transported? ( emissions ). Does the supermarket I bought it from pay the living wage?

Listen to this Radio New Zealand article about a Dunedin-based company Oritain uses chemical fingerprinting of produce to verify the origin of foods another form of provenance stamping.

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We all know the issues about Bangladesh and fast fashion – This is a great article from NPR and another from NY times that really opened up the issues with fast fashion ethical manufacturing of fashion items and not only the conditions of workers but the impact the dumping of waste on our environment.

I hope you have enjoyed this quick insight – my aim is to give you some examples to read and enlighten you about how provenance has become one of the most important aspects of goods and services that we procure today. The Buyer is making decisions based on Ethical Sourcing! I think we do care about provenance and it will only increase.

With the advent of COVID 19 traceability in the supply chain has become a far more important exercise and topic not only due to risk of late or non delivery by many other factors either positive or negative. See the Boston Consulting Group model below and the many factors that could influence the supply chain;

BCG Traceability in Supply Chains

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