Building Information Sharing Networks to Support Consumer Choice Project
Most products consumed within the North American Free Trade Area (NAFTA) are produced and distributed through low cost supply chains that typically do not reveal certain types of information to end consumers. Without this information it is difficult for consumers to assess the quality of the products they buy or exercise their preferences for safe, environmentally sustainable, and economically just products and services. Producers also have much less of an incentive to provide such goods without an effective, trustworthy way to inform consumers. In order to provide full information about how, when, and by whom products were produced, producers, supply chain operators, and third party certifiers need to agree on a data architecture that can facilitate exchange and sharing of information that comes from product production systems, supply chain distribution systems, and systems used to determine compliance with voluntary and government-mandated product standards.
The Building Information Sharing Networks to Support Consumer Choice Project (I-Choose Project) is a three-year research activity funded by the National Science Foundation. The research team consists of a network of researchers and practitioners from Canada, Mexico, and the United States. The project aims to develop a data interoperability framework to provide consumers with a wide range of information about how, where, and by whom products are manufactured and brought to market. The project will focus first on development of interoperability among stakeholder communities for the single case of coffee grown in Mexico, and distributed and consumed in Canada and the United States. The lessons learned from this specific case will then be generalized across other product domains.