In the opening paragraph of Pale Blue Dot, Carl Sagan reminds us from whence we came:
We were wanderers from the beginning. We knew every stand of tree for a hundred miles. When the fruits or nuts were ripe, we were there. We followed the herds in their annual migrations. We rejoiced in fresh meat. Through stealth, feint, ambush, and main-force assault, a few of us cooperating accomplished what many of us, each hunting alone, could not. We depended on one another. Making it on our own was as ludicrous to imagine as was settling down.
Yet as we've domesticated the planet and embraced sedentary life we've not only fallen out of contact with the source of what we consume, but have lost all knowledge of the origins of almost everything with which we interact.
Globalism, the increasing complexity of value-added products, and supply chain intermediation all play a role in this loss of information. Individual businesses involved in the production and distribution of physical goods have limited visibility beyond the bounds of their own customer and supplier bases. Even the largest corporations struggle to meet ESG obligations relating to their supply chains.
As a consequence, people have little perspective on how their choices as consumers impact the wider world. This results in overconsumption and waste, the continuation of barbaric practises such as modern slavery, and enables environmental catastrophes to unfold without businesses being held accountable or individuals taking responsibility for the consequences of their purchasing decisions.
Our mission therefore is clear:
We will ingest publicly available information, published lists of customers and suppliers, and rely on the community to supply local knowledge to fill in the blanks and verify the accuracy of open records.
We will provide tools for individual consumers to better understand the economic systems they support with their purchasing decisions, and enable businesses to behave in a transparent, accountable and socially responsible manner.
Our ultimate goal is to advance towards Sustainable Development Goal 12 established by the United Nations: to ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns. We believe robust, open, and verifiable data linking products to their origins is absolutely foundational to measure and manage patterns of consumption and production, and without such data we cannot grow in a socially and economically sustainable manner.