SHINE awarded grant to tackle worker well-being

File Photo Kris Snibbe/Harvard Staff Photographer

2 min read

The Sustainability and Health Initiative for NetPositive Enterprise (SHINE) at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health has been awarded a grant from the U.S. Department of State to develop a blockchain-based platform that will enable a holistic and secure approach to tracking workers’ health and well-being.  This is the first-ever opportunity via a State Department grant to leverage this state-of-the-art technology to address the challenge of insufficient protection for workers’ well-being and poor audit procedures.

About blockchain & SHINE’s well-being survey

The SHINE well-being survey currently offers a workforce-wide view of factory conditions and individual health and well-being reported directly from workers.  Implementing a blockchain solution as part of the survey will make it possible to verify that employee data is secure and free from external manipulation.  Employees will be able to maintain their privacy while providing data that would help employers serve their needs better.

Thanks to blockchain’s secure architecture, SHINE’s solution will be easily transferable across industrial sectors making it possible for the survey to establish itself as a universal benchmark and communicate how businesses impact their employees’ well-being. With wide adoption and use of this technology in the future, compliance audits could be supplanted by a more effective and efficient process for business and worker well-being.

A new approach to measuring worker well-being

In collaboration with the Blockchain Trust Accelerator, ConsenSys, and Levi Strauss & Co., SHINE aims to create a scalable framework for accurately monitoring worker health and well-being, a crucial right afforded to workers under Article 24 of the U.N. Declaration of Human Rights.

SHINE envisions this solution as a first and crucial step in a transparent evaluation of workforce well-being and factory conditions that draws directly from the experience of workers instead of an external auditor. This new perspective, incorporating the workers’ direct experience, has the potential to revolutionize the current compliance audit procedures that commonly lack objectivity.

The blockchain-based solution will be first tested at Levi Strauss & Co. factories in Torreon and Nazareno, Mexico, which collectively employ more than 5,000 workers.  A successful implementation in Mexico will create opportunities to scale this pilot across industries and countries.  SHINE’s long-term goal is to establish the blockchain-based system as a universal benchmark for labor rights protection across industries and countries, improving accountability and creating a virtuous cycle of positive competition to improve workforce well-being worldwide.