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David Drake

November 6, 2018 Article

Can Blockchain Contribute Towards Addressing Global Environmental Challenges?

The wave of typhoons and hurricanes experienced last month clearly demonstrate that climate change is already here with us. Hong Kong experienced the 'King of Storm' at Category 10. An article published on the New York Post argues that global warming is making hurricanes more intense.

Amidst all these environmental challenges, a report released by the World Economic Forum (WEF) shows that blockchain technology can help tackle pressing environmental problems in the world including climate change and natural disasters. Titled '
Building Block(chain)s for a Better Planet', the report explores the implications of emerging technologies and the impact they can have on the global society.

Blockchain technology remains underutilized in the environmental sector. It has captured the attention of supply chain management and financial structures. It has also powered numerous startups across sectors including
Noiz Chain in the interactive marketing space, LiveTradr in the portfolio optimization space and Epic Mega on entertainment content space.

Game Changer

But blockchain has the power to affect more than just digital assets and all things monetary. With increasing news of a depressed climate and weakening ecosystems, this technology presents an untapped solution and the WEF report identifies more than 65 blockchain use-cases for the environment.

The report names eight “
game-changers” that can potentially impact climate change efforts and expounds on how environmental concerns can be dealt with. One of the proposed strategies is decentralization of natural resources such as energy and water to enhance environmental protection and facilitate better management.

Further, the report states that blockchain technology has other non-financial uses that could garner natural capital and make for a more efficient and cleaner system. It highlights new fundraising mechanisms that promote carbon markets and raise trillions of dollars needed for sustainable economic growth.

The Impact

The WEF report has brought to light a new aspect of blockchain's potential. According to Raghav Reggie Jerath, CEO of
Gath3r, the report is a confirmation of the broad impact that blockchain can have in different sectors.

He says, “A report such as this only strengthens the fact that we are just beginning to understand all the aspects of our society that can be impacted by the blockchain technology, not to mention actually applying it towards beneficial results. Developers are aware of the possibilities but they need more support from businesses, which in turn, need it from their investors. Only through initiatives like, IBM Blockchain Solutions, can a circle of trust be established and growth achieved.”

Further, Blockchain and Distributed Ledger Technology Head, Sheila Warren holds that stakeholder engagements need to be strengthened if the maximum utilization of this technology is to be realized. According to Warren, this is the ideal time for stakeholders to join hands in developing responsible blockchain solutions.

Blockchain supported systems are currently being channeled towards improving sustainability of global supply chains. When this happens, consumers will be better informed as markets take advantage of transparency in businesses. They will be able to track fish from “
bait to plate” and other commodities from “farm to fork”.

Disclaimer: David Drake is on the advisory board for most of the firms mentioned or quoted in this article.

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