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Crops to Code: The role of data in fostering sustainable agricultural trade and responsible supply chains | Report with WWF

Access our report on the impact of data in driving sustainable agricultural trade and responsible supply chains. 

International trade underpins the global economy, fostering job creation, economic growth, and diverse goods and services. Embracing efficient, data-driven, and sustainable international trade will be crucial to combat biodiversity loss, address population growth, and tackle the climate crisis. 

The UK Government is already developing policies to utilise trade data. However, to address the pressing issue of a broken food system that is detrimental to our planet, policymakers need to fully harness modern technology both within their own operations and through targeted investments. 

As the regulatory focus on transparent supply chains and due diligence grows, we have partnered with WWF to explore technologies that can ensure sustainable sourcing practices and efficiently manage agricultural imports into the UK. 

The report analyses various stages of agricultural trade, including production, processing and packaging, shipping and customs, and distribution to end consumers. It explores how different technologies can be employed at each stage to enhance sustainability and transparency in international trade. More specifically, we focus on: 

  • Connected devices such as drones and IoT sensors 
  • Geospatial technology such as Earth Observation  
  • Industrial robotics  
  • QR codes and barcodes 
  • Distributed Ledger Technologies (DLT) such as blockchain 
  • Cloud 
  • Artificial intelligence (AI) 

The report features case studies illustrating the practical application of these technologies from companies such as Fujitsu, Dun & Bradstreet and Stuart.  

Discover the role of data and technology in revolutionising agricultural trade in our animation, illustrating how innovative solutions enhance sustainability across every stage of the supply chain, from production to distribution: 

Recommendations presented to the Government 

In the report, techUK and WWF propose a series of recommendations to the UK Government, which include: 

  1. Establishing a comprehensive set of core environmental standards for imported agri-food to enter the UK market. This measure aims to prevent the offshoring of environmental impacts and ensure that imports adhere to similar standards as domestic producers, thereby fostering fair competition and encouraging sustainable practices globally. 
  1. Advocating for data interoperability within global supply chains to streamline compliance procedures across different jurisdictions, thereby facilitating smoother trade operations and enhancing transparency. 
  1. Investing in upskilling programs to ensure that organisations of all sizes can effectively adapt to trade innovations, promoting economic resilience and competitiveness in a rapidly evolving market landscape. 
  1. Directing investments towards domestic technology initiatives to position the UK as a frontrunner in trade technology, fostering innovation, and driving economic growth. 
  1. Proactively endorsing the adoption of trade technology within governmental operations, demonstrating leadership in leveraging technological advancements to optimise trade processes and enhance efficiency. 
Traceability of materials, processes and suppliers is increasingly recognised as a key enabler for those embarking on their sustainability journey. Not having a transparent supply chain leaves business leaders at risk of being hit with major brand and reputational damage that could – and should – be avoided

Dominik Ferrara, Sustainability & Manufacturing Transformation and DLT – UK & Europe


The advancements in available data and technology highlighted in this document can only serve to support the aim of creating a more sustainable and responsible international trade system. Dun & Bradstreet believes that globally consistent and accurate data, coupled with local expertise, can provide the required traceability and transparency throughout the whole supply chain to enable the tracking of a product’s journey from farm to fork. This insight can be used as a basis for making smarter decisions on trade and contributing to a more sustainable ecosystem.

David Mitton, Head of D&B Government Team

Dun & Bradstreet

techUK will continue collaborating with WWF, the Government, regulators and other stakeholders to ensure the establishment of comprehensive standards, upskilling initiatives, interoperability of data, and strategic investment in technology that will ultimately pave the path toward a more responsible and technologically-driven trade environment. 

techUK - Committed to Climate Action 

Visit our Climate Action Hub to learn more or to register for regular updates.

By 2030, digital technology can cut global emissions by 15%. Cloud computing, 5G, AI and IoT have the potential to support dramatic reductions in carbon emissions in sectors such as transport, agriculture, and manufacturing. techUK is working to foster the right policy framework and leadership so we can all play our part. For more information on how techUK can support you, please visit our Climate Action Hub and click ‘contact us’.

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