Crystal supply chains aren’t particularly at the centre of attention in the logistics world. When we think of unethical or unsustainable supply chains, we mostly just think of blood diamonds, conflict minerals such as the 3TGs, and cobalt.
However, there’s a movement towards crystals as having alleged ‘healing properties.’ This has resulted in a sharp increase in their purchase and interest. Yet crystal mining feeds off conflict and unsustainability just as much as conflict minerals, and we need to do something about it.
Crystals – really?
They might seem harmless or, in fact, like they should have a positive impact and ‘increase your connection with the Earth’. However, as Payal Sambat from the organization Earthworks points out, “Healing crystals’ are mined in places like Myanmar and the Democratic Republic of Congo where mineral extraction is linked to severe human-rights violations and environmental harm.”
There has been an incredible focus, especially in recent years, on the mining of cobalt and the 3TGs in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). And yet it seems that many crystals are coming from the same places, and we are not adequately tracking these supply chains
Simply, most consumers don’t know where their crystals are coming from. That’s a problem.
How can we change this?
Crystals are often not mined exclusively, but rather the byproduct of other (possibly unethical) mining practices. When these crystals are sold cheaply on a mass production basis, they are possibly, if not probably, sourced from unethical and/or unsustainable mining projects.
While sustainable surcing could, to some extent, increase the price, tracking the crystal supply chain will help this sourcing become more ethical. Companies and consumers should take a genuine interest in ensuring their crystals are coming from a responsible source.
Crystals are often because of so-called ‘healing’ properties or merely on an aesthetic basis. On any account, most of us would feel better knowing that the crystals we purchase are ethically sourced.
It might sound strange – tracking the crystal supply chain – but many people’s safety and livelihood in another country could depend on it.
Could blockchain be the answer?
If you’ve read much about supply chains before, you’ve probably read this question: Could blockchain be the answer? The simple answer: Yes, it can.
RFID tags could be attached to crystals to track them on the blockchain. Then, users will scan the RFID tags themselves and discover the journey that the crystals has gone through throughout its lifecycle. This provides confidence to the end customer that their product has, without doubt, been sourced sustainably.
Our platform, STAMP Supply, tracks supply chains beginning-to-end through blockchain-enabled technology. It provides transparency, auditability and allows companies to detect unfair practices in their supply chains.
Interested in finding out more about how we can track our supply chains? Click here to find out about STAMP Supply.