A new report from the World Economic Forum has identified over 65 use-cases where the blockchain can be used for the world’s most pressing environmental challenges.


Using the Blockchain to Fix the Environment

The report, “Building Block(chain)s for a Better Planet,” was published last Friday. It was done in collaboration with PwC and Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment.

It states that as the fourth industrial revolution gathers pace, innovation is becoming faster, more efficient, and widely accessible. Additionally, technology is becoming increasingly connected. If harnessed correctly, this revolution could bring about a sustainability revolution.

As the foundational emerging technology of the fourth industrial revolution, the blockchain has the potential to address many environmental issues. These include climate change, biodiversity, and water scarcity, the report notes. The report found over 65 existing and emerging blockchain use-cases for the environment.

Blockchain technology

Additionally, it highlighted eight game changers that have the ability to deliver transformative solutions to environmental challenges. These are:

  • “See-through” supply chains;
  • Decentralized and sustainable resource management;
  • Raising the trillions – new sources of sustainable finance;
  • Incentivizing circular economies;
  • Transforming carbon (and other environmental) markets;
  • Next-gen sustainability monitoring, reporting, and verification;
  • Automatic disaster preparedness and humanitarian relief; and
  • Earth-management platforms.

Challenges to the Environment

The report highlights six of the world’s pressing problems: climate change, biodiversity and conservation, healthy oceans, water security, clean air, and weather and disaster resilience. Presently, the majority of use-cases are in the concept or pilot phase. Notably, though, climate change and biodiversity were the areas that had the most use-cases identified.

Water resource management

Water resource management, ocean management, and clean air had fewer use-cases developed. However, while the technology holds great promise, the report argues that it may not be transformational for the environment on its own. The report reads:

However, the potential of blockchain to help solve environmental challenges can be amplified exponentially when it is combined with other emerging Fourth Industrial Revolution technologies such as AI, IoT, drones, 3D printing and biotechnologies.

When it has been applied this way, the “blockchain starts to become a truly game-changing technology.” Improving supply chains with the blockchain is a major game changer. According to The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), it estimates that around 20 percent of global fish caught is illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU).

Yet, nowadays, organizations are facing increasing pressure to identify exactly where the food they are producing is coming from. Coca-Cola is one company that has teamed up with the U.S. State Department and two other organizations to use the blockchain to tackle the use of forced labor worldwide.

How do you think the blockchain will help address environmental issues? Let us know in the comments below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock.

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