For human rights and environmental protection: As part of the Berlin Startupnight on Friday, September 6th, around 100 participants from Volkswagen, adidas, Zalando and Deutscher Bahn as well as five start-ups met for a hackathon at the DRIVE! Volkswagen Group Forum.

The aim was to develop digital solutions to make it easier to monitor compliance with human rights and environmental protection along deeply staggered supply chains. The goods and services involved are sourced via such supply chains with up to nine stages in various countries in Latin America, Asia and Africa.

Transparency in the supply chain is a cross-industry focal point – which particularly affects the automotive industry. The transition to e-mobility poses technological and infrastructural challenges for the Volkswagen Group: To ensure sustainable mobility, responsible procurement of raw materials has top priority, especially with cobalt, lithium, nickel, lead and rare earths.

This is why the Volkswagen Group, adidas, Zalando and Deutsche Bahn are working together with other partners from science, companies and start-ups. For one day, participants from various disciplines exchanged their expertise to develop innovative digital solutions.

On the technological side, the focus was on blockchain, information management and supply chain management. “Sustainability and supply chain transparency are inextricably linked. Digitization offers completely new opportunities here,” said Marco Philippi, Head of Corporate Procurement Strategy, “And the hackathon brings both worlds, sustainability and digitization, together.

At the end of the event, mixed groups of founders and corporate experts presented their solution strategies to a jury. The jury selected the start-up company as the winner, which presented the most innovative approach and offers the best scalability into other areas: Open Apparel Registryfrom Philadelphia (USA).The company will have the chance to participate in a pitch for a place in the incubator program of the Transparent Factory in Dresden next year.