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How Can Features of Blockchain Support Sustainability Efforts?


June 29, 2023

In recent years, sustainability has become a pressing global concern, and technological advancements are playing a crucial role in addressing environmental and social challenges. One such technology, blockchain, has emerged as a powerful tool in several business and technology areas, but also with a huge potential for preserving our environment. Here is an overview of how can features of blockchain support sustainability efforts. 

Blockchain's unique features, such as transparency, traceability, decentralization, and immutability, can revolutionize various sectors and enable the development of innovative solutions to promote sustainability. 

This article explores how blockchain can contribute to sustainability, highlighting its applications in supply chain management, renewable energy, carbon credits, and decentralized governance.

How Can Features of Blockchain Support Sustainability Efforts? Overview

We know the potential of blockchain in sustainability is so huge that some of the world’s leading technology companies, like Deloitte, are actively researching how to achieve more with it. Some companies, like Accenture, even ask this question of their candidates to better evaluate their grasp of these concepts and the impact their work can have on the world. Those of you who are researching this topic for this reason, this one’s for you.

#1. Blockchain and Sustainability: Decentralized Control

One of the key features of blockchain technology is its ability to enable decentralized control and decision-making. Unlike traditional systems, blockchain eliminates the need for centralized authorities, allowing for faster and more efficient business transactions. This decentralized control not only streamlines processes but also reduces waste within sustainable business ecosystems.

#2. Blockchain and Sustainability: Increased Transparency and Sustainable Growth

Blockchain technology plays a crucial role in tracking and reporting emission reductions, thereby facilitating effective greenhouse gas accounting. By leveraging blockchain, businesses can prevent double counting, ensuring accurate reporting figures. Moreover, blockchain promotes compliance with environmental practices, enhancing transparency and facilitating sustainable growth.

#3. Blockchain and Sustainability: Promotion of Green Finance

The sustainability aspect of blockchain technology enables businesses to facilitate crowdfunding and peer-to-peer financial transactions, thereby supporting climate action initiatives. This feature instills confidence in investors, encouraging them to allocate funds towards sustainable projects and initiatives.

#4. Blockchain and Sustainability: Support for Recycling Programs

Blockchain technology can be instrumental in incentivizing and promoting recycling programs within organizations. By utilizing cryptographic tokens, blockchain-based systems provide financial rewards for recycling efforts. These systems not only track volumes, costs, and revenues but also address the environmental impact of individual or corporate pollution. By partnering with offset organizations, blockchain technology creates a global platform that rewards users for their recycling contributions.

#5. Blockchain and Sustainability: Combating Food Waste

Blockchain technology has the potential to revolutionize the fight against food wastage. By enabling end-to-end traceability, blockchain ensures that food can be tracked from its source, reducing waste throughout the supply chain. Through the integration of temperature loggers and equipment monitoring, blockchain offers innovative solutions to address food waste challenges effectively.

#6. Blockchain and Sustainability: Prevention of Scams

Blockchain technology provides a decentralized registry that safeguards property owner rights, minimizing the risk of fraud. By ensuring the accuracy of ownership transfers, blockchain enhances trust and security in transactions. 

Additionally, blockchain-based land registration systems facilitate easier access to banking services, benefiting individuals and empowering the economically disadvantaged.

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#7. Blockchain and Sustainability: Driving Economic Growth

Blockchain technology can play a vital role in managing cross-border transactions, addressing trust, multilateralism, and inclusion. To unlock the full potential of blockchain for inclusive growth, collaboration among governments, non-governmental organizations, civil society, and academia is crucial.

#8. Blockchain and Sustainability: Advancing Gender Equality

Blockchain innovation holds great promise for promoting gender equality in various aspects of life, particularly in financial inclusion. By leveraging blockchain technology, women gain increased access to financial services and improved financial management tools, fostering empowerment and equality.

#9. Blockchain and Sustainability: Facilitating Renewable Energy Integration 

The integration of renewable energy sources is vital for combating climate change, and blockchain can play a crucial role in this transition. Blockchain enables peer-to-peer energy trading and decentralized energy grids, empowering individuals and communities to produce, consume, and sell renewable energy. 

Through blockchain-based platforms, energy producers can verify the origin and impact of their energy generation, creating transparent and auditable records. This transparency enhances trust among participants, facilitates the integration of small-scale renewable energy producers, and incentivizes the adoption of green technologies.

The United Nations Climate Change (UNFCCC) is also taking steps towards employing blockchain for reducing greenhouse gas and the carbon footprint, so the potential is definitely there.

Blockchain can also enable the creation of tokenized renewable energy assets, allowing investors to support clean energy projects and participate in the sustainable energy market.

#10. Blockchain and Sustainability: Enhancing Supply Chain Transparency and Accountability 

One of the primary ways blockchain supports sustainability is by improving supply chain transparency and accountability. With its decentralized and immutable nature, blockchain can provide a comprehensive record of every transaction, movement, and transformation of goods throughout the supply chain. 

This transparency helps identify inefficiencies, reduce waste, and prevent unethical practices such as child labor and deforestation. Companies can utilize blockchain to track the origin, quality, and environmental impact of their products, enabling consumers to make informed choices about sustainability

Moreover, blockchain-based smart contracts can automate compliance with sustainability standards, ensuring adherence to environmental regulations and fair labor practices.

#11. Blockchain and Sustainability: Leveraging Blockchain for Carbon Credits and Offset Programs 

Reducing carbon emissions is essential for mitigating climate change, and blockchain can enhance the effectiveness and transparency of carbon credits and offset programs. By using blockchain, organizations can accurately measure, verify, and record their carbon emissions in a decentralized and tamper-proof manner

Blockchain can also reduce double counting issues that tend to appear when disingenuous actors attempt to game or cheat the system. 

This enables the creation of tradable digital assets representing carbon credits, providing a transparent and auditable marketplace for carbon offset transactions. Blockchain can ensure that credits are not double-counted, and the entire process is traceable, eliminating fraud and enhancing the integrity of carbon markets.

For example, Toucan Protocol is a promising project seeking to build infrastructure that aids a carbon market to finance a better global climate. Smart contracts can automate the execution of such carbon offset projects, ensuring the fulfillment of commitments and the achievement of emission reduction targets.

#12. Blockchain and Sustainability: Enabling Decentralized Governance and Collaboration 

Blockchain's decentralized nature and consensus mechanisms provide a foundation for transparent and inclusive governance models. By leveraging blockchain technology, communities and organizations can establish decentralized decision-making processes, fostering collaboration and collective action for sustainability initiatives

Blockchain-based platforms enable voting, fund allocation, and project governance in a transparent and secure manner, minimizing the influence of centralized authorities. Moreover, blockchain facilitates the creation of decentralized autonomous organizations (DAOs), where members collectively make decisions and allocate resources based on predefined rules. 

A scientific study published in Nature, authored by Guillaume Chapron, argues that the world needs cryptogovernance to counteract all the misgivings of the current representation system. There are also great decentralized projects for enabling better climate action such as OneEarth, a great example of how blockchain can drive change by allowing users and donors to take decentralized decisions of how the money they raised is getting spent. 

This decentralized governance framework encourages active participation, fosters innovation, and empowers communities to drive sustainable development.

How MetaWealth applies blockchain to sustainable development

Through blockchain technology, MetaWealth is revolutionizing sustainability efforts by providing a secure and transparent system for recording information and facilitating sustainable practices. 

We partnered with BuildGreen, a strategic player in sustainability in real estate for over 12 years, with experience across 18+ EMEA countries and investments totalling over 8 million sqm and €10 billion. Through this strategic partnership, we are ensuring that all the real estate assets that will be available on the MetaWealth platform will always be top-notch from an environmental footprint point of view. 

From decentralized control to increased transparency, blockchain offers a wide range of benefits for businesses and individuals committed to sustainability, and we think this is especially true for real estate, a business domain with a long tradition that could benefit a lot from technological innovation. 

By embracing blockchain technology and its unique capabilities, we aim to drive positive change, foster sustainability, and create a better financial & environmental future for generations to come.

The bottom line on blockchain and sustainability

Blockchain technology offers a range of features that can support sustainability efforts across various sectors. From enhancing supply chain transparency and accountability to facilitating renewable energy integration, blockchain provides the infrastructure needed to address environmental and social challenges. 

By leveraging blockchain's unique attributes of transparency, traceability, decentralization, and immutability, organizations and communities can develop innovative solutions for a more sustainable future. This is how the innovative features of blockchain can support sustainability efforts and help propagate new standards and frameworks to make the entire business ecosystem a better place for the planet. 

However, we should note that blockchain has also become somewhat of a buzzword for businesses in the past few years, so it’s important to recognize that this new tech is not a panacea and must be thoughtfully integrated with other technologies and policy frameworks to maximize its potential in achieving sustainability goals. 

With continued exploration and collaboration, features of blockchain can support sustainability efforts and contribute greatly to the global green agenda.

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