Can Blockchain rescue us from the climate crisis?
Blockchain is designed to increase the transparency of supply chains, provide security and structure large volumes of data. But how does it work in practice? Even if the concept behind blockchain is already understood, only a few people can think of an answer to this question.
It may surprise you that we are building a bridge to the environmental organization WWF, the World Wildlife Fund, and want to make the Blockchain technology even more tangible for you. The WWF has been working since 1961 to preserve biological diversity through global nature and species conservation. In the specific area of „Climate & Energy“, the WWF is committed to encouraging politicians, business and society to rethink their approach and take efficient action against the threat of climate catastrophe. In order to achieve such a rethink, it is necessary to provide companies and consumers with more transparency about their respective actions and the associated consequences.
Supply chain tool from WWF enables ethical procurement decisions
In 2019, WWF Australia therefore introduced the OpenSC platform in partnership with the Boston Consulting Group. The supply chain tool was developed specifically for the food industry and enables both companies and consumers to track the products they produce or buy using the above-mentioned block chain technology. Each product receives an individual, non-manipulability code, which is then linked to each other via a block chain platform, thus enabling accurate tracking throughout the entire life cycle.
Even more concretely: the fish bought in the supermarket was tagged with a chip after being caught on the other side of the world. This chip provides a multitude of GPS data. Where was the fish caught? When was it caught and where was it delivered afterwards? As soon as the fish is filleted in the next production step, the whole charm of the Blockchain technology comes into play. Each Blockchain is a chain of individual blocks of information and can therefore be taken apart and combined into new chains at any time. For our fish, this means that the original block chain is broken up into individual information blocks during filleting and each piece of fish is in turn assigned an information block and thus an individual QR code. In the supermarket, the consumer can scan this code before buying and trace the fish’s supply chain. And in the best case, then make a conscious and ethical decision.
Benefit for the climate is controversial
With the Blockchain technology there is the possibility to generate a high transparency and traceability for all participants of the economic life and to defuse the current problems of our society regarding climate change. On the other hand, the development of an extensive Blockchain e.g. as a platform is extremely cost-intensive and connected with a high energy demand. The computer power and electricity required for programming Blockchain systems is also often powered by coal or other fossil fuels.
As with so many other things, it is therefore necessary to weigh up the advantages and disadvantages of using Blockchain: How big is the benefit for all involved, regionally and globally? And how high are the costs of implementation, not only in purely financial terms, but also in terms of influencing our fragile climate.
Your interest in the topic of Blockchain is aroused and you would like to learn more about the possibilities, especially in procurement and supply chain? Then talk to us about digital transformation in your company.
Partner, ADCONIA GmbH
Consultant, ADCONIA GmbH