How blockchain is working closely with sustainability? | Blockchain Expo

By: Rebecca Clinton-Floyed

6, January, 2020


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How blockchain is working closely with sustainability?

Sustainability as a trend has gained momentum in the last ten years wherein many businesses have adopted the practice to improve their supply chain. Despite implementing sustainable efforts, there is a lack of efficiency, transparency, complexity and slow execution in the process that businesses are mostly not aware of. Blockchain can actually transform the entire supply chain management cycle and help companies to reduce waste and become more sustainable and profitable at the same time.


Let us read further to understand how efficient blockchain is when it comes to enhancing sustainability.


Supply Chain Management


Modern supply chains are complicated as they span over numerous entities, locations, and levels of management. With these existing problems, issues with local governments — especially for those companies manufacturing overseas — make it extra challenging to effectively manage supply chains. To bring efficiency and transparency into such a complex system, a secure, decentralised ledger like blockchain can be of great assistance in managing raw materials, tracking deliveries and payments that are made through different parts of the logistics network.


The records maintained on the distributed ledger also provide a unanimity to transactions, which makes sure that everyone on the chain is up to date about the activities. Organisations like Unilever, Nestle, and Walmart have already implemented blockchain to their supply chain. These companies use blockchain to track the processing and storage of their imported produce. Mining organisations De Beers and BHP Billiton also use the technology to track their precious stones and other minerals throughout the mining process.


The Energy Sector


Blockchain can bring a huge change in the energy sector, which is currently dominated by a handful of energy providers and organisations. The technology has potential to change this model by establishing a new market that will allow energy transfer and sales between individuals. For instance, a family going on vacation has stored unused energy that will be used when they come back. If they hadn’t stored it, it would otherwise have gone to waste. This new market especially helps owners of renewable energy sources, promoting a sustainable environment.


Energy start-ups such as, Power Ledger and Electron are already developing a peer-to-peer energy market in the UK and Australia. The latter has even received funding from the British Government to scale its energy trading platform. Other companies like these two possess great potential to disrupt the current energy scene around the world. Apart from bringing sustainability and cost savings, blockchain is capable of bringing many more opportunities to the energy sector in the years to come.


Waste management


Billions of tonnes of waste is produced every year on this planet and the quantity just keeps increasing every day, which needs to be reduced at an exponential rate. France’s Société Nationale des Chemins de Fer Français (SNFC) – the country’s national railway provider – had conducted a study in 2017 that found Lyon’s central station produced more than 360 tonnes of waste every year, which required the SNFC to use multiple handlers to dispose of the waste at a great cost.


The SNFC then used blockchain-based tech to its bins and used Bluetooth to track the capacity of every bin. The technology assisted in logging the information and the wastage removal team was able to better allocate and dispose of the garbage. This was just a pilot testing wherein the SNFC save nearly thousands of Euros. And today, every single train station in the country is making huge savings with the help of blockchain technology.


Using QR codes on product packaging can also help combat waste management. For instance, if packaging is found on the beaches, in the waters, or in an environment where it shouldn’t be, the codes on these packets can be scanned and traced back to the manufacturers. This would help bring a sense of responsibility among the producers, consumers and the governments, making sure that the waste is disposed in correct manner.


Integration of blockchain can help improve the current waste situation in countries around the world. Implementing the technology would help businesses as well as the consumers to understand the importance of recycling and waste management.




Customers these days are willing to pay for products that have a sustainable background, which they don’t know much about. In manufacturing industries, such as fashion and natural resources, this level of transparency is usually not available.


The cotton industry is one such biggest example. Cotton, which accounts for 33 per cent of the textiles used, takes nearly 2,700 litres of water to refine enough cotton to produce just one t-shirt. Here, blockchain can be used to develop a shared electronic record that tracks a product’s origins from farms, factories and across transportation routes to the store.


The Seam – a Memphis, Tennessee-based innovative solutions developer for growing agribusiness firms – collaborated with the US National Cotton Council to release a blockchain for the cotton industry that will help the cotton industry track agricultural products from the source, along with creating much-needed transparency in the sales tracking of cotton.


Levi’s Strauss is another example to have rolled out blockchain across its facilities to enhance efficiency. Major fashion brands like LVMH, Gucci, Prada, along with other companies also vowed to implement sustainable efforts across their operations.


Key takeaway: Blockchain can be a valuable technology for organisations and governments to create a more transparent, organised, responsible, and a reliable system. It can also play a very important role in reducing carbon emissions and waste and potentially creating social awareness by rewarding the public for acting more sustainable. DOVU is a great example. The blockchain-powered platform rewards individuals who cut their carbon footprint by paying tokens in their e-wallet. Moreover, the integration of the DOV wallet with Uber’s public API allows users to use their earned DOVU tokens to reduce the price of their Uber trip.