Blockchain might have a negative reputation when it comes to sustainability, but it could actually help manage environmental damage. In fact, the World Economic Forum claim that blockchain has the potential “to unlock and monetize value that is currently embedded in environmental systems.” With Earth Day coming up next week, we look at how.
1. Sustainable financial exchange.
Cryptocurrency already has a variety of uses in the environmental sector. This might be surprising to some, given crypto’s reputation as being an immense energy user. However, cryptocurrency provides a decentralised, accessible way for many to fund investment in sustainable options and donate to charities (with traceability as to where their money goes).
It can also provide an incentive for people to make positive environment choices, for example providing a cryptocurrency reward for recycling.
And the problem of cryptocurrency and blockchain in general consuming huge amounts of energy? That can be solved, or at least reduced, by renewable energy.
2. Supply chain accountability.
Blockchain technology in supply chains can ensure that companies are operating in sustainable, ethical ways. Blockchain provides insight and transparency into supply chains, for both companies and for consumers. It can help companies better adhere to Corporate Social Responsibility protocols and reduce their environmental footprint. It can also allow consumers to make informed, ethical purchases.
We’re doing this with our blockchain-enabled platform STAMP, allowing companies to trace their supply chains for data-based, environment and sustainable reasons.
3. Water management.
According to WEF, 60% of the world’s population live in areas of “near-permanent water stress.” This means that factors – whether economic, political or environmental – have intervened with a person’s ability to access clean water. Blockchain can allow for water to be traced, to ensure its quality, quantity and sourcing.
Blockchain can also help water management by allowing people to visualise their water use and identify outliers in the data. This can incorporate the Internet of Things and artificial intelligence, too.
A huge amount of waste generated is not recycled or collected. This means it ends up in landfill or on the streets and in the oceans. In addition to rewarding people for being responsible about their waste, blockchain can also track commodities. So, if the object then ends up as litter, on the road or in the ocean, it can be tracked back to its owner(s) or the company that produced it.
5. Carbon emissions.
You might have heard about carbon taxing, which involves taxing fuels. We need a method of tracking carbon emissions adequately. Blockchain can offer a permanent, decentralised method of doing this. It can also incentivise people to reduce their carbon use. The WEF suggest digitalizing carbon credits on the blockchain.
Blockchain technology has significant potential for the future of the environment; however, it requires our help to realise this potential. Blockchain could provide a reliable transactional record of data, supply chain information and energy consumption.