While technology and the industrial revolution have been the biggest culprits in the environmental impact, technology may as also be the saving grace.
One such technology that has shown a lot of promise is blockchain.
The environment is something you are very familiar with. It’s everything that makes up our surroundings and affects our ability to live on the earth.
The air we breathe, the water that covers most of the earth’s surface, the plants and animals around us, are all part of the environment. Our environment has been the victim of all sorts of attacks and they are mostly man-made.
Human activity resulted in the extinction of hundreds of organisms in the last two centuries.
From air and water pollution to ocean acidification, to deforestation and ozone depletion humans have impacted the nature so much. It is imperative that we change our ways to save ourselves as well as the environment.
However, many of our efforts to save the environment are failing.
In 2015, the climate conference that had commissioned the landmark study. The report said that the world is now completely off track, heading more towards 3C this century rather than 1.5C.
In what could only be called as a heartbreaking stance, many of the world leaders are either in disapproval or denial of the impact this could have.
Recently, attempts to incorporate a key scientific study into global climate talks in Poland have failed.
The World Economic Forum
A research by the world economic forum identifies blockchain technology as having the potential to transform how humans interact with one another and the environment.
Research and analysis conducted by the WEF for their research paper have identified over 65 use cases for blockchain technology. It can help overcome environmental challenges, signaling that the use case potentials in that sector are definitely there.
The paper presents potential blockchain solutions for 6 environmental challenges.
On the other hand, Unilever conducted a poll last year. It found that 33 percent of respondents choose to buy from brands they believe are doing social or environmental good
What is Blockchain Technology?
A block is a record of new transactions or digital information. This block grows forever. These blocks are linked and secured using cryptography.
Cryptography is the practice of creating and deciphering codes. A list of digital information linked and secured with cryptography is a Blockchain. It is not possible to modify this data once stored.
In this article lets discuss some of the latest developments in blockchain concerning environmental services.
Supply Chain Transparency
Using blockchain in supply systems has many benefits. One among them is transperant supply chains.
In a supply chain, blockchain application records all transactions and creates an immutable provenance. Blockchain has the potential to connect all stakeholders in a global supply chain. It is a platform that provides the data, traceability, transparency, control or compliance mechanism.
Everledger is a digital traceability technology company. It initially used blockchain to prevent insurance fraud in the diamond industry.
However, with consumers demanding information on jewels’ carbon and energy footprint to avoid any conflict of interests. This has caused Everledger to expand its focus to sustainability.
Global diamond giant De Beers is also working on a blockchain-enabled platform called Tracr to involve companies across the diamond supply chain in providing information.
So far, it has five manufacturers and jewelry retailer Signet on board. De Beers hopes to eventually provide the information to consumers.
Natural Resource Management
Blockchain can underpin a transition to decentralized, clean and more resource-efficient energy and water systems at scale.
Platforms could collate distributed data on these resources. With this data, blockchain-enabled platforms make better informed decisions. They can even take decentralized decisions about the management of resources.
It makes natural resource extraction, public land management, and pollution levels visible to citizens and city officials.
The amount of resources being extracted from the ground at a certain time, or levels of air and water pollution can be integrated into a single secure data.
Sustainable Finance Sources
Blockchain-enabled finance platforms could potentially revolutionize access to capital. It can also open up a whole new class of potential investors for projects to address environmental challenge.
The technology can enable the seamless global management of complex finance structures. It can also address a large, globally dispersed pool of donors and investors.
This pool can fund the projects of their choosing and through the transparency and incentive models enabled by blockchain technology.
Traditional shareholders will become stakeholders in the new, decentralized system.
Incentivized Circular Economies
Circular economies is a concept that focuses on extracting the most value out of each resource. Recycling and reusing resources as many times as possible is the key. This effectively leads to substantially less waste.
Blockchain could fundamentally change materials’ and natural resources’ value, usage and trading.
It can help incentivizing individuals and organizations to realise financial value from things that are currently discarded as economically invaluable.
For example, Plastic bank enables the exchange of plastic for money, items or Blockchain secured digital tokens.
This empowers recycling ecosystems around the world and stops the flow of plastic into our oceans. All while helping people living in poverty build better futures.
Similarly, Gainforest uses blockchain technology and a token economic model. Gainforest incentivizes farmers to preserve the rainforest in the Amazon.
Transforming Carbon Markets
There is rampant double-counting and fraud in carbon markets.
Companies routinely count emissions reductions against their carbon emissions after someone in their supply chain has done the same thing.
Blockchain applications have the potential to change this. By pricing this into their products and services it will enforce companies to pay for the impacts they have on the environment.
Blockchain could underpin a global carbon trading market for individuals, households or organizations.
Granular, an agricultural company has partnered with a blockchain startup to help business reduce their environmental footprints.
Granular will provide optional early access to Nori (NORI), a blockchain-based carbon market. This allows farmers to gain additional revenue by reducing atmospheric carbon.
In addition, Nori is building a transparent and secure platform that will allow anyone in the world to pay to remove excess carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.
By implementing blockchain, a transparent, auditable and automated record can potentially pave the way to the greater integration of renewable energy sources on the electricity grid.
If companies and people alike are keen to offset their carbon emissions, they will be able to purchase renewable energy certificates.
In Brooklyn, New York, a promising project has seen dozens of homeowners collaborate to install solar panels as part of a standalone network.
The Brooklyn Microgrid is run by technology company LO3 Energy, and , while giving them access to a trading platform where they can sell excess electricity to other buyers in the group.
The introduction of transparent, verifiable ledgers helps the people and companies to reduce their carbon footprints.
Blockchain is a huge asset in enivronmental services. The public and transparent nature of the information encourages collaboration across nations and strengthens trust in the system.