Opening Supply Chains

Sourcemap is an open source project about where things come from. As you know, plenty of products consist of many, many different components coming from all kinds of places around the world. The image, for instance, shows the trace route of an ordinary laptop. Sourcemap is organized around ‘objects’ made up of ‘parts’, and aims to provide insight in where all that different stuff actually comes from.

“By adding up the impact and location of all the parts, we can estimate the carbon footprint of each phase of the life cycle of an object.”


Especially the Sourcemap’s open source character is interesting. Visitors of the website have access to a growing catalogue of mapped supply chains, and can easily register to start creating their own product maps. Participants can build an object from parts in the Sourcemap database by selecting ‘Add a part’ or contribute their own components by clicking ‘Add a custom part’. Each part is described in terms of its name, its origin, its weight, the means of shipping. Taken together, these values turn themselves into trace maps, and provide an estimate of the carbon footprint of each product and its assembly phases. Every spot on the map is clickable in order to find more information about it. Maps can be exported as a ‘source map’, as a summary, as a QR code (to print onto product packaging), or as a printable map.

Sourcemap, still in its beta phase, hopes to contribute to the improvement of socially- and environmentally- conscious products, and to stimulate suppliers to give consumers insight in the origin of their products. Check out the video below to find out more about Sourcemap.