Pilot Project: Unlocking blockchain’s potential for sustainability certification

In the last 18 months blockchain has become a watchword for all things innovative and disruptive. Initially hitting the mainstream with the emergence of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, blockchain’s potential applications are seemingly limitless and stretch far beyond the world of finance.

A blockchain is “a ledger in which new transactions refer to previous ones. Why? It guarantees one can only add transactions at the end of the ledger” (Provenance, learn more here). The system is decentralised and extremely resistant to fraud which makes it ideal for auditors and assurance systems and led us, and our partners, to explore the potential for blockchain to support sustainability certification

Over the past 9 months, RSB has been working alongside technology partner Provenance to explore the opportunities blockchain technology offers to sustainability certifications and commercial partners. Provenance leverages blockchain technology to bring transparency to supply chains, enabling great businesses to build trust with customers.

The project – which was an exploratory, pilot project aimed at learning more about this new, disruptive technology and how it can be utilised to increase supply chain efficiencies – was funded by the ISEAL Innovations Fund.

In collaboration with sustainability certifications and standards members of the ISEAL Alliance, the project developed and researched three applications for the technology to improve the efficiency and credibility of sustainability certifications.

These applications were:

  1. Utilise blockchain as the backbone of a collaborative database across certification bodies in order to reduce time (and cost) of double auditing for companies who hold multiple certifications
  2. Utilise blockchain as single source of truth for the movement of sustainably certified goods across the supply chain in order to improve transparency and authenticity
  3. Automating sustainability data collection and management (such as GHG emissions) through smart contracts in order to access real-time, trustworthy data and avoid fraud

To learn more about what we learned, as well as the recommendations for a future project, please download the full report here.

Please contact us if you would like to access the 1-hour webinar where we present the project results and answer some key questions about the project.

Special thanks to UPM Biofuels for supporting the project.

The ISEAL Innovations Fund is supported by the following partners:

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