Starting up with purpose at Peer LedgerPurpose on the inside
Company: Peer Ledger
Location: Halifax, Nova Scotia
Size: Start-up (> 10 employees)
Peer Ledger's purpose
Leverage technology to ensure responsible sourcing in supply chains, thereby protecting human rights, improving environmental performance and reducing safety risks.
Blockchain with impact
For Nova Scotia-based blockchain start-up Peer Ledger, their purpose is to use blockchain, IoT, AI and other technologies to ensure responsible sourcing across entire value chains. The company’s solution enables businesses in a supply chain to collaborate to check compliance and provide evidence, verification, and certification of responsible sourcing.
Blockchain is a digital distributed ledger that records transactions in a way that is secure and immutable, which means they can’t be tampered with. It gives brand manufacturers the ability to view transactions across their entire supply chain, and provides provenance or source information to retailers and consumers. In Peer Ledger’s case, this visibility extends right back to the mine, farm, forest, or ocean allowing them to protect the rights of workers and the environment.
Increasing trust and transparency
Supply chains are complex, with many levels of transactions, and often stretch around the world. Despite years of effort by technology brands to ensure their suppliers are compliant with codes of conduct and conducting audits, it remains very difficult to obtain complete assurance that their products are free from child labour beyond their first level of suppliers. Publicly traded US-based companies are required to report on materials sourced from conflict zones in their annual disclosures to the Securities and Exchange Commission.
According to Dawn Jutla, founder and CEO of Peer Ledger, “What is happening in the Democratic Republic of Congo is clearly the largest humanitarian crisis in our lifetime. A lot of the money that’s funding the conflict is coming from the minerals sector and control over those mines. People in the community are suffering, including artisanal miners. It was a compelling beachhead case to work on and so we knew that the work we were embarking on was purposeful and that it would be impactful.”
Knowing that companies of all sizes are looking for solutions to reduce risk and improve compliance in their supply chains, in 2016 Peer Ledger’s first investor, J. Michael Durland, and his colleague Sunil Kashyap, suggested applying blockchain to responsible sourcing of conflict minerals. Dr. Durland provided the initial capital to start building the MIMOSI blockchain platform. It was the opportunity that impact investors are looking for: the intersection between investing in a company that can provide measurable social impact and the potential for financial returns.
Purpose at the heart of business strategy
Peer Ledger’s blockchain platform can benefit many types of supply chains. Jutla sees opportunities to help food manufacturers to increase safety standards in their supply chains, automakers to improve safety standards by rooting out counterfeit parts and – with the legalization of cannabis in Canada – the opportunity to provide assurance in the provenance, distribution, and sales process.
Peer Ledger’s purpose helps keep their business strategy on track, especially when the buzz around cryptocurrencies started to build. According to Jutla, “For us start-ups it’s very important to be able to focus. And at the same time, we are also scanning for opportunities. Our strategy aligns with purpose and values and helps us decide what we will do, as well as what we won’t do.” As a result, Peer Ledger decided to avoid doing their own coin to raise money, and is supporting their business through alliances to get strong business partners in sectors that matter.
Aligning values to grow
Peer Ledger’s growth strategy depends on their ability to create strategic partnerships with other organizations and investors that share their values. “The customers and business partners who are coming to us are innovators and they see the potential of what our MIMOSI blockchain platform can do for them, that fits very well with their sustainability goals and their purpose,” says Jutla, and the same is true for investors. “When we choose them, we line up our values of caring with their and their companies’ values. And that’s very important for us as we go forward.”
Peer Ledger has a bright future and is a Nova Scotian start-up to watch.
For us start-ups it’s very important to be able to focus. And at the same time, we are also scanning for opportunities. Our strategy aligns with purpose and values and helps us decide what we will do, as well as what we won’t do.
What is blockchain?
A digital ledger that stores transaction data in a way that can’t be altered or deleted. It provides a consistent view of data to collaborating organizations.
For more information visit www.peerledger.com
What is an Impact Investor?
Impact investors choose investments based on their potential for financial return as well as measurable social or environmental impact.
There were $9.2 billion in Impact Investment assets in Canada in 2015, an increase of 123% in two years (source: RIA).