Towards interoperability of digital traceability systems in global agricultural supply chains

Germany’s supply chain due diligence law as well as the EU legislative proposals on deforestation-free supply chains and for an EU-wide supply chain law are presenting companies with new challenges. In future they will need to prove that they are meeting legal due diligence requirements. This creates an urgent need to trace and securely document the origins and sustainable production of agricultural products.  

While the number of traceability solutions on the market is steadily rising, data incompatibilities unfortunately often mean that the various systems are unable to exchange data. Digital solutions are barely interoperable. As a result, both producer organisations and downstream actors in the supply chain have to collect, store and convert data repeatedly – requiring greater effort and making the process more susceptible to errors.  

Digital standards for product traceability along supply chains could significantly improve efficiency and facilitate information exchange within supply chains. Such standards would serve as a basis for data exchange and reliable documentation of corporate due diligence obligations. Interoperability of traceability systems from producer to consumer would therefore benefit all actors along the supply chain, providing a way to tackle issues such as transparency, avoiding deforestation or ensuring living incomes for farmers. 

From coexistence to collaboration

The goal is a broad agreement on common open standards to support interoperability between traceability systems. From a due diligence content perspective, DIASCA focuses on regulatory requirements regarding deforestation and living incomes and wages. In view of the EU legislative proposal, DIASCA is working to develop solutions and validate them through real-world reference projects. It is intended to establish common best practice recommendations for overcoming the current challenges of data exchange between traceability applications by defining and applying global, open and cross-sectoral standards.  

DIASCA aims at facilitating and supporting:

  • Compatibility between different systems, leading to far more efficient data exchange along agricultural supply chains; 
  • Greater efficiency of data collection at origin by making data comparable and (re-)useable for a variety of purposes; 
  • Freedom of choice and improved access to digital solutions for all supply chain actors;  
  • Participation of smallholder organisations in the benefits of due diligence legislation; 
  • Higher incomes for smallholders due to greater transparency in agricultural supply chains.

Get involved with DIASCA

The project works through a multi-actor cooperation of producer organisations, technology providers, implementing organisations, corporations and regulatory authorities. 

DIASCA was kicked off on 7 September 2022 with more than 60 international experts gathering around the first virtual round table.

The first phase until August 2023 is designed as follows:

1. Stakeholder interviews haven taken place prior to the kick-off event. See the presentation and recording on results and derived hypotheses.

2. Iterative approach via a series of roundtable talks

3. Three subgroups on Traceability, Geospatial Data: forest monitoring and Entity-based Data: farm income, for which you can register below.

4. Cross-check of results through field-level reference projects with stakeholders (please get in touch via the form below to share your ideas with us)

5. Recommendations as input for standardisation bodies and processes

Are you interested in actively participating in one or more DIASCA working groups or would you like to be informed about their results? Then register now via this form!

Registration form

Recording 1st Round Table DIASCA 

Further materials
Background Information

The technical background paper provides an overview of existing GS1 standards that enable traceability and interoperability (classifications, data models, system and certification standards).

This document summarises the results of the stakeholder interviews on interoperability and presents the derived hypotheses.

1st Round Table

Please find the summary of the first DIASCA Round Table here. 

Objectives by Lars Kahnert 

This presentation by Lars Kahnert from GIZ Bonn describes the current situation with regards to data exchange between digital solutions and points out why interoperability is urgently needed. It gives an insight on the objectives, the vision and the setup of the interoperability round table

Introduction by Tim Bartram

The presentation by Tim Bartram from GS1 Germany sheds light on DIASCA, it’s aim and the concrete working structure, which consists of round tables, working groups and reference projects, so that recommendations as input for standardisation processes can be formulated at a later stage.

Introduction to tracebility by Niklas Kuhnert

This presentation by Niklas Kuhnert from GS1 Germany presents the three pillars of interoperability and gives examples of traceability systems in use.

Introduction to Entity and geospatial data by Daniele Giovannucci 

In this presentation, Daniele Giovannucci from the Committee On Sustainability Assessment (COSA) describes why interoperability of sustainability data, like entity/farm data and forest-monitoring data, is important and provides insights into some case studies from this field of work.

Interview Results and Hypotheses by Julian Majert 

Julian Majert from GS1 Germany summarizes the findings from stakeholder interviews that have been conducted prior to the first round table. The presentation describes the interview results and the hypotheses derived from them for the upcoming work of DIASCA.