World Economic Forum Teams up with Seven Mining, Metals Companies On Blockchain-Driven Supply Chain Solution

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The World Economic Forum has teamed up with seven leading mining and metals companies to experiment, design and deploy blockchain solutions that will accelerate responsible sourcing and sustainability practices.

  • Leading mining and metals companies have joined forces to accelerate responsible sourcing of raw materials with the World Economic Forum.
  • The Mining and Metals Blockchain Initiative will explore the building of a blockchain platform to address transparency, the track and tracing of materials, the reporting of carbon emissions or increasing efficiency.
  • Antofagasta Minerals, Eurasian Resources Group Sàrl, Glencore, Klöckner & Co, Minsur SA, Tata Steel Limited, Anglo American/De Beers (Tracr), are founding members.

“Material value chains are undergoing profound change and disruption”, said Jörgen Sandström, Head of the Mining and Metals Industry, World Economic Forum. “The industry needs to respond to the increasing demands of minerals and materials while responding to increasing demands by consumers, shareholders and regulators for a higher degree of sustainability and traceability of the products.”

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The Mining and Metals Blockchain Initiative will pool resources and cost, increase speed-to-market and improve the industry-wide trust that cannot be achieved by acting individually. It aims to be a neutral enabler for the industry, addressing the lack of standardization and improving efficiency. The intention is to send out a signal of inclusivity and collaboration across the industry. The group will look to develop joint proofs-of-concept for an inclusive blockchain platform. Over time, this could help the industry collectively increase transparency, efficiency or improve reporting of carbon emissions.

“As a responsible player in the mining and metals industry, we are committed to build a sustainable future,” said T.V. Narendran, CEO of Tata Steel Limited. “We believe enhanced collaboration across the industry to facilitate collective action, leverage technology to reduce emissions & conserve the environment is imperative and critical in our journey towards attaining a carbon-neutral future.”

In many cases, blockchain projects to support responsible sourcing have been bilateral. The result has been a fractured system that leaves behind parts of the ecosystem and lacks interoperability. This new initiative is owned and driven by the industry, for the industry. Members will examine issues related to governance, develop case studies and establish a working group. Key areas of collaboration and development could include carbon emissions tracking and supply chain transparency. They will work to use blockchain technology to increase trust between upstream and downstream partners, to address the lack of industry standardization and to track provenance, chain of custody and production methods.

“The distributed nature of blockchain technology makes it the ultimate networked technology,” said Nadia Hewett, Blockchain Project Lead, World Economic Forum. “Forward-thinking organizations are starting to understand the disruptive potential of blockchain to solve pain points, but are now also recognizing that industry-wide collaboration around blockchain is necessary.”

The World Economic Forum has offered its platform and expertise to help industry leaders better understand the impact and potential of blockchain technology. It will provide guidance on governance issues related to the delivery of a neutral industry platform and the expansion of members.

“We hope this collaboration and pilot will give us practical examples of how blockchain can increase efficiency of the supply chain management and improve interoperability; address certain supply chain management risks such as transparency and consumer trust; and unlock opportunities including integration of key data such on environmental impact such carbon emissions”, said Ivan Arriagada, CEO of Antofagasta Minerals.

“We need more collaboration in our industry to address supply chain transparency and inefficiencies,” said Gisbert Rühl, CEO of Klöckner & Co. “This blockchain consortium – with collaboration between forwarding thinking companies, and regulators, NGOs and technology providers – with blockchain and distributed ledger technology has a great potential for industry adoption and value creation.”

Competitors within the same industry who research and experiment with blockchain or distributed ledger technology are increasingly exploring consortium formation to accelerate and strengthen blockchain technology knowledge and potential research and development. This trend is reflected in the Deloitte Global Blockchain survey published in May, where the overwhelming majority (92 percent) of respondents say they either belong to a consortium or plan to join one in the next 12 months.

Read more about the Mining and Metals Community at WEForum.

About Richard Kastelein

In his 20s, he sailed around the world on small yachts and wrote a series of travel articles called, ' The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Seas' travelling by hitching rides on yachts (1989) in major travel and yachting publications. He currently lives in Groningen, the Netherlands where he has set down his anchor to raise a family and write.

Founder and publisher of industry publication Blockchain News (EST 2015) and director of education company Blockchain Partners (Oracle Partner) – Vancouver native Richard Kastelein is an award-winning publisher, innovation executive and entrepreneur. He has written over 2500 articles on Blockchain technology and startups at Blockchain News and has also published in Harvard Business Review, Venturebeat, Wired, The Guardian and a number of other publications.

Kastelein has an Honorary Ph.D. and is Chair Professor of Blockchain at China's first blockchain University in Nanchang at the Jiangxi Ahead Institute software and Technology. He has over a half a decade experience judging and rewarding some 1000+ innovation projects as an EU expert for the EuropeanCommission's SME Instrument programme as a startup assessor and as a startup judge for the UK government's Innovate UK division. Kastelein has spoken (keynotes & panels) on Blockchain technology at over 50 events in 30+ cities.

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