BETTING ON BLOCKCHAIN: World Economic Forum in emissions JV with group including Glencore, Anglo American

A collaboration between metals and mining companies including Anglo American, Glencore and Tata Steel have released a proof of concept carbon tracing platform to trace emissions across the value chain using distributed ledger technology.

The venture - a collaboration between the World Economic Forum and seven global companies that make up its Mining and Metals Blockchain Initiative (MMBI) - aims to accelerate an industry solution for supply chain visibility and environmental, social and governance (ESG) requirements.

The founding members of the MMBI are Anglo American, Antofagasta Minerals, Eurasian Resources Group, Glencore, Klöckner & Co, Minsur and Tata Steel.

“There is an increasing demand for metals and minerals, and an increasing demand for sustainable and responsible and traceable supply chains,” Jörgen Sandström, head of metals and mining industry at the World Economic Forum, said.

“There is a potential to create a full value chain view with downstream visibility, and in partnering with regulators and aligning our work with robust ESG standards, sustainability certification schemes and assurance frameworks,” he added.

The companies initially joined forces in October 2019 with the goal of pooling resources to design and explore blockchain solutions to accelerate responsible sourcing in the industry. With a focus on end-to-end traceability, the platform will ensure traceability of emissions from mine to the final product

The proof of concept was developed in collaboration with industry experts, supported by the Dutch blockchain champion Kryha and consortium advisor Susan Joseph, to test the technical feasibility of the idea.

Benedikt Sobotka, chief executive officer of Eurasian Resources Group and co-chair of the Global Battery Alliance, said that enhanced collaboration around blockchain technology is necessary to improve supply chain transparency and reporting on carbon emissions.

“The MMBI’s custom-built blockchain solution will allow customers to verify the environmental impact of the products they use, and we are excited to have entered the next phase of the platform’s development,” he added.

There has also been a move by many corporations and exchanges to incorporate sustainability concerns across the ESG spectrum.

The global mining and metals market has traditionally suffered from inefficiencies due to manual, paper-based processes and a lack of transparency among supply chain participants.

By digitizing the supply chain and providing greater traceability, companies are increasingly seeking to streamline their operations, improve profit margins and contribute to sustainable supply chains and responsible sourcing.

A number of blockchain platforms are now active in the metals and commodities space, including in the trade finance, physical repo and supply chain management space.

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