Jan 14, 2020

Using blockchain to ensure olive oil really is extra virgin

Photo courtesy of CHO

Large olive oil producer CHO is using IBM's food blockchain to allow customers to track their oil — from the orchard where the olives are grown, through the mill where they are crushed, to the facilities where the oil is filtered and bottled.

Why it matters: Assuring food safety and quality seems to be one of the most compelling uses for the much-hyped technology.

  • CHO is starting with its Terra Delyssa brand, beginning with its most recent harvest. Customers can scan a QR code to get the information on their olives.

The big picture: Olive oil, in particular, has had major issues around provenance and quality, as detailed compellingly in Tom Mueller's book "Extra Virginity: The Sublime and Scandalous World of Olive Oil" (which I happen to be reading).

Yes, but: Putting the information on the blockchain makes it decentralized and immutable, but doesn't guarantee the data is good in the first place. To do that, CHO relies on its own testing plus a third-party analysis performed on every lot of oil produced.

Our thought bubble: I get a ton of pitches touting blockchain, usually resulting in a good eye roll. But tracking and assuring the provenance of foods and medicines has always struck me as one of the more compelling uses.

Go deeper: Investors are missing out on the food industry's revolution

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There's more oil and gas than ever — and the industry is tanking

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

The world's oil and natural gas companies are drilling their way into financial and social hell.

Driving the news: The industry's stocks are in the toilet, and climate change is fast becoming a mainstream investor worry. These problems overlap and neither is going away anytime soon — if ever.

Exclusive: IEA to track oil companies’ efforts on clean energy

Data: International Energy Agency; Chart: Danielle Alberti/Axios

The world’s oil and gas companies will undergo annual reviews by the International Energy Agency to assess how they’re doing on climate change and clean energy issues.

Driving the news: The group released a report on Sunday showing that oil and gas producers, including those owned by governments, spend on average just 1% of their total capital expenditure outside oil and gas.

Go deeperArrowJan 20, 2020

OPEC considers production cuts as coronavirus impacts China's oil demand

Photo: Ryad Kramdi/AFP via Getty Images

OPEC's possible responses to the spreading coronavirus that's hurting oil demand and prices are starting to come into view.

Why it matters: Besides killing more than 360 people so far, the outbreak is severely curtailing airline and economic activity in China, the world's largest oil importer and second-largest oil consumer.