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April 8, 2024
September 26, 2023

How to balance transparency with privacy in supply chains

Enhance traceability without compromising privacy with iov42's Interu. Addressing supplier concerns, our platform offers a "permissioned approach" ensuring only authorised participants access specific information.

Transparency and privacy. Interu: Supply Chain Traceability

In 2023, a large operator told us that nearly 50% of their suppliers aren’t currently willing to provide the information they need to meet impending regulations like the EU Deforestation Regulation.

There is increasing pressure for improved traceability across multiple industries, however it has been met with a huge amount of misplaced fears around what this means for suppliers, resulting in push back and a breakdown of trust. 

In this blog, we wanted to highlight the privacy tools we have designed to help keep commercially sensitive information private, whilst still enabling traceability and helping operators remain compliant. 

Ultimately, effective communication and information sharing between suppliers and operators are essential for a smooth and efficient supply chain. Not doing this could lead to a disrupted supply chain, increased costs, duplicated documents, risk management challenges, and compliance and regulatory issues. 

So why would a supplier be unwilling to share necessary information? This could be for a number of reasons; they don’t have their information organised and readily available to share, the suggested sharing tool doesn’t integrate into existing systems, or they are worried about sharing commercially sensitive information. 

Our 2022 Timber traceability report surveyed 250 importers across the UK, Austria, Belgium, Italy, and France to understand their attitude towards traceability systems, and we found that 56% have misplaced fears that using traceability technology could lead to the loss of confidential information or trade secrets. 

Interu offers multiple privacy tools that can ease these concerns and build trust back up between supplier and operator. 

We believe that the ability to share confidential information only with those that need to have visibility of it, is of paramount importance, especially in industries where sensitive data and proprietary information plays a critical role. By implementing robust privacy measures and access controls, businesses can confidently share sensitive data with the assurance that it will not be leaked or accessed by unauthorised parties, thereby fostering trust and enhancing the efficiency of their operations.

One of these features which we often refer to as our “permissioned approach” makes it so only authorised participants are allowed to access certain information, which offers control, security, and privacy.

So whilst Interu is built on Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT), which enables transparency and accountability, what we have developed through our own purpose built technology uses our “identity-centric” approach which means that private and confidential information can still be protected. 

To further explain, each platform user has a unique identifier and the ability to make relevant claims about their identity. When these claims, such as “I work at iov42”, are endorsed by a reputable third party, which in this case could be iov42 or a relevant tax authority, the trustworthiness of that identity increases. This information is what is used to decipher who gets access to certain information. 

To be used in combination with the above permissioned approach, we have also built a tool that means only certain information within that specific document is visible – something that can be changed at various stages of the supply chain depending on what does/doesn’t need to be accessed. 

This is made possible also due to our use of third party verification that endorse claims made. And because of our unique approach, the verified document still holds its integrity when information is removed/hidden. As shown in the example of a passport with information removed below. 


Organisations involved in supply chain management often need to balance transparency and privacy when sharing documents. Using both of these tools provided can be essential in scenarios where sensitive information must be protected while still allowing what is needed to be viewed for necessary collaboration or to meet regulation. This is both in terms of the original endorsed document, and the version with content removed – both of which can be linked on our platform for clarity and ease of viewing (for the user and those that have been granted access). 

Whilst we are focusing on regulations in this blog, we see manufacturers, food processing companies, pharmaceuticals, retailers, or any other industry that operates within complex supply chains to benefit from a combination of these tools to safeguard sensitive information while enabling traceability between partners, suppliers, and stakeholders.

If you want to learn more about how we can help enhance the traceability of your organisation, or you are interested in learning more about our unique approach to privacy, then get in touch! 

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