The blockchain boom—tackling environmental issues

The blockchain boom—tackling environmental issues

Environment analysis: As part of a series exploring the ‘blockchain boom’, David Brennan, partner and co-chair of global tech at Gowling WLG, considers how blockchain technology can address environmental issues

How can blockchain technology tackle various environmental issues, for example climate change, recycling and supply chain management?

Blockchain technology is already being used to tackle a range of environmental issues, such as recycling schemes which offer bitcoin-based reward tokens in exchange for those making the effort. However, the wider environmental benefits of using blockchain are, while possible, more challenging and complex in terms of their application.

For example, the current use of ‘smart grids’—which are designed to optimise energy consumption by detecting and reacting to changes in usage—is an ideal pairing with blockchain technology. Smart grid technology allows peer-to-peer energy exchanges between users on the same grid network. The use of blockchain technology will ensure that accurate user preferences are immutably logged and efficiencies are exploited, resulting in more energy being available across a network capable of delivering a customised and preferred level of energy to each user.

From a supply chain perspective, using blockchain to track the typically fragmented and complicated stages of the process has the potential to tackle discrepancies and revolutionise supply chain management. While all participants in a supply chain have the same goal in getting a product from the original source to the final customer, there is very often a lack of visibility and communication among supply chain participants. The traditional supply chain

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