Blockchain for deforestation-free coffee supply chains

© ForestGuard

The need for information is constantly growing. Adequately reporting on the implementation of the Anti-Deforestation Regulation and the status quo over time, as well as deriving potential recommendations for action, requires a wealth of information from companies and their supply chains. However, this information is currently either not available at all or not in sufficient quantity, quality, reliability, tamper resistance, or manageability.

The goal of the ForestGuard project is to propose an application-oriented approach for demonstrating deforestation-free supply chains. Information from various stakeholders and sources along supply chains is structured and brought together while preserving data sovereignty, in order to create digital transparency and efficiency through the integration of various technologies such as distributed ledger technology. Specifically, a scalable, open-source solution approach is being developed using the example of a coffee supply chain. Through a pilot implementation, it will be validated how this solution approach supports the various stakeholders of the supply chain in complying with the EU Anti-Deforestation Regulation (EUDR).



Duration: 01.11.23 to 31.01.25

Target Country: Peru

Subject Area: Cross-cutting Technologies

Funding Focus: Feasibility Study, Pilot and Model Projects



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Presentation on previous project results.



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Collaboration partners


Second consortium meeting of the project "ForestGuard"

© Fraunhofer IML
© Fraunhofer IML

The "ForestGuard" research project, which is facing the challenge of implementing the standards for transparency and security of deforestation-free products required by the European Anti-Deforestation Regulation (EUDR) using blockchain technology, has successfully completed its first phase.

The consortium meeting took place on 17 May 2024 at the offices of Schirmer Kaffee GmbH in Dortmund. The results of the first project phase were presented here, which included the collection of requirements and the development of technical concepts. The attending project partners enriched the presentations with valuable information, suggestions and insights.

The participants included well-known personalities from industry and research, including Mr Markus Zombek, Managing Director of Schirmer Kaffee GmbH, Ms Nilgün Parker from the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Nuclear Safety and Consumer Protection (BMUV), Dr Matthias Polak from Zukunft-Umwelt-Gesellschaft (ZUG) gGmbH, Dr Klaus Wirbel and Mr Dirk Heim from the REWE Group, Ms Katrin Töpfer from the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit GmbH (GIZ) and Univ.-Prof. Dr habil. Dr h. c. Michael Henke.

The importance of deforestation-free products in the context of sustainability was clearly highlighted by the constructive discussions and the commitments of the project partners. A particular highlight of the meeting was the guided tour of Schirmer Kaffee's production facilities, which gave the guests a practical insight into the processing of coffee.

In the further course of the project, a visit to coffee farmers in Peru who are also affected by the EUDR is planned. There are also plans to make the software components developed within the framework of "ForestGuard" available as an open source solution in order to give small and medium-sized enterprises easier access to the tools they need to comply with the EUDR.


© Fraunhofer IML
© Fraunhofer IML

On the 29th of January 2024, the first project meeting of the "ForestGuard" project funded by the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Nuclear Safety and Consumer Protection (BMUV) took place at Fraunhofer IML in Dortmund.


The aim of "ForestGuard" is to support directly affected companies in the EU as well as stakeholders in producer countries in complying with the requirements of the European Union's Anti-Deforestation Regulation (EUDR). By comprehensively integrating data across the entire supply chain - from plantation to trade - transparency and traceability of important, EUDR-relevant information is ensured using the example of a coffee supply chain.


The implementation of blockchain technology creates a "single point of truth" (SPoT) that guarantees the unalterable integrity of the data. The control of access enables targeted insights for companies or authorities, while the decision in favour of open source solutions significantly supports the scalability of the system.


Together with representatives of the BMUV, the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture (BMEL), the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) and the partner companies Rewe Group and Schirmer Kaffee GmbH, the challenges of the EUDR were analysed and discussed in more detail. Initial interim results and the focus of the project were also discussed. In addition to the focus on transferability to other EUDR-relevant products, the almost 30 participants particularly emphasized the open source nature of the "ForestGuard" solution approach as a counterweight to commercial approaches.


In addition to the positively received interim results, strategic planning steps for the upcoming implementation phase in the summer were also discussed. The support provided by the BMUV and the close cooperation with experienced industrial partners emphasise the relevance of "ForestGuard" in the context of global environmental change and the great pressure on companies to take action to achieve greater sustainability and transparency in supply chains, which is reflected in the EUDR, among other things.


A guided tour through the research halls of the Fraunhofer IML and the Chair of Materials Handling and Warehousing (FLW) at TU Dortmund University completed the productive exchange in the afternoon. A follow-up meeting in spring is already being planned.