The Friday Report: April 12th, 2019

Quick wrap up of a few hot topic newsworthy stories in the supply chain logistics industry

Brexit Deadline Extended to October 31st

With the original deadline for the break up with the European Union now past, and numerous Parliamentary votes unsuccessful, the EU has approved an extension to October 31st.  The break can actually be executed earlier if the U.K. can approve a plan that the EU supports.  According to a note from the General Secretariat of the European Council to the British delegation, the U.K. must elect new members to the EU parliament if a plan is not approved by May 22nd.  If this is not done, the EU will force the U.K. out of the union on June 1st.

There are additional complications, however.  Prime Minister Theresa May had planned to step down from her post if her withdrawal agreement was passed.  As May survived a no-confidence vote in October, she cannot be similarly challenged again for a period of one year.

Reusable Containers Help Reduce Packaging Waste from Meal Kit Delivery Services

With the global meal kit market anticipated to reach $8.9 billion by 2025 as compared to the 2017 level of $2.5 billion in 2017, packaging waste is a significant problem.  Most meal kits that are delivered arrive in a cardboard box with insulation, ice packs and plastic bags.  Additionally, ingredients are typically individually wrapped and packaged.

HelloFresh initiated the move towards more sustainable packaging by replacing the Styrofoam liners of its boxes with a recyclable material.  The move is purported to divert 15,000 tons of packaging waste from landfills annually.  Purple Carrot, another meal kit provider also altered its packaging to make it 100% recyclable.  The Canadian meal kit brand SPUD is utilizing insulated, reusable bags for its meal kit delivery and charges a $3 deposit to ensure return.

Recently Otter Products, best known for its industrial-strength cell phone cases announced it was launching a new brand, Liviri.  After delivery, Liviri boxes are returned to the meal kit company, cleaned, refilled and used for future meal kit deliveries.  The cycle can repeat up to 75 times.

U.S. Department of Energy Considers Blockchain to Help Protect the Supply Chain 

The U.S. Department of Energy’s National Testing Laboratory (NETL) working in partnership with Colorado security firm Taekion plan to use blockchain to help secure energy supply chains against cybercriminals.  The effort is hoped to forestall cyberattacks by terrorists or state actors, similar to what happened to Ukraine in 2016. 

The $1 million project will decentralize data involving the status of an operation of the energy supply chain.  If hackers impact the power grid somehow, their efforts would be transparent.  This is the second blockchain initiative invested in by the DOE.  If found to be successful, it could be highly instrumental in protecting the United States from a cyberattack that could damage the electric backbone on which the American economy depends.

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