Stephen Johnson is a Director of the Dayaxa Frankincense Export Company (DFEC) a startup based in Somaliland. He is an interdisciplinary ecologist focused on the sustainability and conservation of wild forest products, particularly by leveraging commercial value to promote conservation. He has been working on frankincense sustainability issues since 2016 as a researcher, conservationist, and technical advisor to companies involved in frankincense supply chains. He has published more than a dozen peer-reviewed papers, book chapters, and technical reports, and conducted socio-ecological research on frankincense in Somaliland (Somalia), Puntland (Somalia), Ethiopia, Oman, Burkina Faso, and Ghana.
As a Director of the Dayaxa Frankincense Export Company, he works to leverage innovative technology to create radical transparency in a historically opaque supply chain. DFEC was founded to challenge the prevailing opaque supply chain model in frankincense, a model that saw unfair pay, poor working conditions, and exploitation of both plants and people as the standard impacts. To counter this, DFEC uses blockchain-based mobile apps to gather supply chain data and prove good practices and positive socio-ecological benefits. These apps allow broad distributed documentation using smartphones, linked with digital payments via mobile banking to provide transparent payments. By leveraging this mobile technology, DFEC aims to disrupt the traditional supply chain model, utilize the international value of frankincense to deliver enhanced social and ecological benefits, and promote enhanced resilience of wild plant-dependent communities against the effects of climate change.