Blockchain’s ability to bring sustainability into supply chains is widely known. However, blockchain has uses in supply chains that many haven’t considered: specifically, within the circular economy.
The current system we use is the linear economy, the ‘make, use, dispose’ model, which means that a product is used until the end of its service life and then disposed of. The circular economy involves keeping resources in use for as long as possible, extracting their maximum value, and recovering and regenerating them at the end of their service life.
The circular supply chain
The ‘circular supply chain’ model prioritises provenance of a product for its entire usable existence. So, when a phone is at the end of its use cycle, its components can still go on to be used in other ways. Supply chains are complicated enough in their current state, especially in a pit-to-port system, but they become even more convoluted at the end of a product’s initial service life.
Let’s look at it like this. You upgrade to the newest smartphone. You don’t just throw your old smartphone in the bin (although many do – electronics account for up to 70 percent of toxic landfill waste). If you can’t sell the phone, recycling it means many of its components can be melted down, such as gold and silver. Some of these metals can actually be recycled infinitely.
This poses a major threat to mining companies, however. If we are repurposing the components of a smartphone, there’s a reduced need for raw mined materials in the next piece of technology’s creation.
How does our platform solve this problem?
Blockhead Technologies’ STAMP is a technology platform, designed to trace supply chains (largely mining) from beginning-to-end. This makes it ideal for the circular economy. Instead of tracing supply chains from merely mining to manufacturer, it can trace the entire lifecycle of a product, even if it starts a new service life in a different product.
STAMP records the critical details of the original metal or mineral. It tracks the product’s movement through a supply chain, and can then track it to the end of its initial use case. Then, with the use of IoT technology, STAMP can reunite a miner with these metals or minerals, allowing them to be recycled personally and then sell them onwards. Not only does this provide diversity in revenue for the mining company, it also reduces the effect of electronic waste (e-waste) on the environment.
An advanced supply chain
In the traditional system, records are often lost or incorrect. Take a paper-based supply chain, for instance: these are so complex that it would be almost impossible to track a product to the end of its lifecycle. Every instance that it’s sold on, or sees a new service life, the chain becomes more complex.
STAMP is streamlined. It’s permanent, live and decentralised. This makes viewing a product’s lifecycle easy from beginning-to-end. STAMP employs a dashboard and detailed reporting to allow visibility of a product’s (or multiple products’) lifecycle.