World Economic Forum: Why Blockchain Can Help Build a Better Planet

David Drake

Since the industrial revolution in the 1950s, there have been numerous gains in various economic facets, including agriculture and manufacturing. Unfortunately, these gains have also yielded unintended consequences for the environment due the loss of biodiversity and habitats leading to global warming and climate change.

As such, the fourth industrial revolution has to help address these environmental challenges and manage shared resources efficiently to ensure sustainable development. To realize this, technology will have to play a key role in enabling these efforts.

Just recently, the World Economic Forum (WEF) released a report dubbed ‘Building Blockchain for a Better Planet’ showing the potential that blockchain technology has to help tackle the world’s most pressing environmental problems, including climate change and natural disasters.


Numerous Use Cases
The WEF report identified more than 65 existing and emerging use-cases of blockchain technology in addressing environmental problems. Examples of areas of application include fostering transparency in supply chains, decentralized and sustainable resource management systems and new sources of sustainable finance. Other areas are transforming carbon markets, earth management platforms, automatic disaster preparedness and humanitarian relief.

Even with the numerous use cases, the report recognizes that for blockchain potential in addressing the current environmental challenges to be realized, there are other factors besides technical performance that need to work.

For industry players, the WEF report expands blockchain application beyond the confines of business to the environmental space, having been associated with finance and business, more than any other sector. In the business world, blockchain technology has shaped numerous startups including
Noiz Chain in interactive marketing, HFC Coin in the mortgage industry, ONe Network in social media security, LiveTradr in portfolio optimization and Gath3r in digital monetization.


Reducing Carbon Footprint
The WEF report is a shot in the arm to the cryptocurrency industry after reports, including the Forrester report, pointed out that companies which had been working on incorporating blockchain technology were scaling down or even abandoning blockchain testing initiatives. The findings of the report are likely to have a positive impact on the cryptocurrency market in terms of developing fit-for-purpose solutions.

One company that has been using blockchain as a green solution is
4th Pillar. The company has detailed its environmental contribution on the sixth page of its white paper. According to the company’s CEO, Mr. Ales Zizmund, the company’s FOURdx service ensures that carbon footprints are reduced around the world by implementing a cost-effective digital system.

He says, “We believe that blockchain should contribute to improving our living conditions. That is why we are promoting our green solution through our white paper and advertising. Our contribution is through the reduction of paper sendings if you use our platform.”

Quoting the company’s white paper, Ales also says, "According to the FAO’s State of the World’s Forests Report in 2011, the number of sawn logs removed and used for paper products was 853 million m3. The demand for wood and paper products is expected to increase as developing countries industrialize, which will only put more pressure on forest ecosystems. FOURdx will actively reduce the use of paper as it is based on DLT transactions and digital communication. With this technology, we will implement a cost-effective digital system and reduce the carbon footprint all around the world.”

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