TracElite: Traceability in Action
In 2004, with these issues in mind, UK software company Helveta joined forces with The Tropical Forest Trust (TFT), a charity comprising buyers and suppliers in the hardwood trade. Together they configured CI World to combine leading-edge technology, local community involvement and good business sense to more accurately track timber and ensure sustainable and legal hardwood production.
Underpinning CI World is UltraLite and MobiLink, the industry leading mobile technologies from Sybase iAnywhere. UltraLite provides a database management system ideal for the small footprint mobile devices used by CI World customers, and MobiLink provides the highly scalable, highly dependable synchronisation technology required to exchange data between databases and data sources.
Helveta's choice of Sybase iAnywhere's technology to support CI World was crucial for two main reasons: Firstly, the timber industry is notoriously techno-sceptic so it had to be 100% trustworthy. Secondly, CI World is deployed in the most remote and challenging places on Earth, so the technology had to be ultra-reliable and able to work in the middle of the Amazon where IT support is non-existent and communication links are weak.
CI World: Theory in Practice
Indonesia has faced a long battle with illegal logging. Clear traceability of hardwood timber products has been extremely difficult to demonstrate due both to historically weak governance and institutionalised corruption and to flawed paper-based processes. As a result, the threat of purchasing illegally sourced timber of unverified origin has traditionally left retailers dangerously exposed.
Facing these issues, the 2.5 million hectare Perum Perhutani plantation in Indonesia began work with Helveta in 2006. At the time, Perhutani and its advisor, TFT, sought to strengthen the plantation's Chain of Custody - the trail of legal ownership for an asset - control as it began to prepare for Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification. This certification would demonstrate legal and sustainable operations, enabling a price premium to be sought for Pehutani's traceable timber products. It would also provide control over losses of timber through illegal activities suffered by the plantation.
Scott Poynton, Executive Director, Tropical Forest Trust, explained: "When you have FSC certified forestry, there's structure, there's order and there's control. Logs just can't disappear from forests. You also get socially beneficial management too as all the money is captured in the system and can go to communities and the government so they can build hospitals and schools for people."
Using CI World, deployed under the name TracElite, the Perum Perhutani plantation now tracks 100% of its timber throughout the supply chain in the system pilot sites. This starts with pre-harvest mapping in the forest using a sophisticated, low-cost barcode tagging system. This tag-based system pinpoints tree locations for back-to-stump traceability and prevents timber of non-verifiable origin entering the supply chain. Data collected during scanning also allows accurate calculations of volume per tree or log.
Scanning is carried out using a robust, flexible handheld solution - military grade handheld hardware and Helveta CI Mobile software. This multi-lingual, multi-mode ruggedised handheld can be used in the most remote locations or at point where other data capture options are not possible. Data is captured and stored in the small fingerprint SQL database, delivered by Sybase iAnywhere's UltraLite, onto the handheld device. CI Mobile plugs directly into the pre-existing communications infrastructure - including satellite phones, wireless networks, and even cellular networks - to synchronise using Sybase iAnywhere's synchronisation software, MobiLink. All the data capture software is managed and deployed remotely across the Internet, meaning updates and enhancements can take place without anyone having to leave the forest.
CI World: A Brighter Future
With CI World in place, Perum Perhutani is taking significant steps to achieving its aim of FSC certification. Key to this is being able to demonstrate a clean Chain of Custody and traceability right back to the original standing tree. Transtoto, Executive Director of the Perum Perhutani plantation, explained: "With TracElite we are supported and it allows us to provide a superior product and achieve our ambition of operating the best tropical forest management in the world."
Newton concluded: "Helveta's technology helps business, government and non-government organisations to jointly deliver solutions to environmental problems not just in the timber business but in food, utilities and beyond. With CI World and TracElite, Helveta is able to provide suppliers and governments with the tools to combat the threat that illegal logging poses to the global environment."