The sustainability movement has emerged as a 21st century megatrend, and it shows no signs of abating. Record heat in Europe, wildfires in the U.S. West, floods in Pakistan, drought in China, and accelerating ice cap melt in Greenland and Antarctica have driven home to many the looming threat of climate change.
Meanwhile, the New York Times declared in December “the sustainable industrial revolution is just getting started,” and even heavy industries like shipping, steel, and plastics are beginning to grasp the importance of an ecologically sustainable future — developing products like “green steel,” which is a fossil-free steelmaking process.
But hurdles remain, including questions about transparency, accountability, traceability, trust, data integrity, and even greenwashing (making false or insincere environmental claims.) Or as the Times asked: “Can some of history’s highest-polluting industries be trusted?” in spite of their professed good intentions.
This is where blockchain technology could make a difference. Like the sustainability movement itself, blockchain tech is global, 21st century, and mostly unformed though likely to be shaped soon by new laws and rules. Blockchains can simplify and lower costs of ESG (environmental, social and governance) reporting, build trust in “collected” data, develop new eco-related trading markets, and suggest new sources of innovation.
Blockchain can prove that green energy is really green. (Source: Pexels)
In March, for instance, automaker Volkswagen announced that it was using blockchain technology to help ensure that electric vehicle (EV) charging stations were using sustainable sources to recharge their electric cars. This move is aimed at consumers who want validation that the energy being used to recharge their vehicles isn’t coming from brown coal-powered electric companies or the like. BMW is said to be developing something similar.
Elsewhere, energy giant Shell announced in June the launch of Avelia, a sustainable aviation fuel (SAF)…