Blockchain Can Help Solve Pressing Environment Problems – World Economic Forum

The World Economic Forum (WEF) has identified at least 65 applications of blockchain tech to help address pressing global environmental concerns.

The organization released the report of the study conducted in partnership with big four auditing firm PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC)

In the report, titled “Building block(chain)s for a better planet” was released at the Global Climate Action Summit held last week, and studied how new international platforms could develop “responsible blockchain ecosystems”.

The WEF explained on its website:

“If harnessed in the right way, blockchain has significant potential to enable a shift to cleaner, and more resource-preserving, decentralized solutions, unlocking natural capital and empowering communities.”

According to the WEF report, blockchain could impact the environment in six broad areas including climate change, water security, biodiversity and conservation, oceans, clean air, weather and disaster resilience. It pinpointed the transparency, automation and governance as key features of blockchain and smart contracts that can transform environmental systems.

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It listed some reasonable blockchain use-cases to include:

  • “cleaner and more efficient decentralized systems;
  • peer-to-peer trading of resources or permits;
  • supply-chain transparency and management;
  • new financing models for environmental outcomes;
  • and the realization of non-financial value and natural capital.”

However, WEF said that these areas are being neglected by developers, investors, and governments.

Blockchain and the Fourth Industrial Revolution

The WEF is a keen advocate for the Fourth Industrial Revolution and its latest insight was part of a series dedicated to the new era. In April, the organization, through its dedicated Centre, released guidelines on how organizations could proceed with emerging technologies including blockchain, artificial intelligence, machine learning, autonomous and urban mobility—all aspects of the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

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PwC, for its part, has garnered blockchain industry insights. In one of its recent blockchain resources, PwC examined the extent of blockchain adoption across industries, pointing out the major hindrances faced by the technology.

In her submission, Celine Herweijer, a partner at PwC UK highlighted the relevance of blockchain tech in the environmental sector. She explained:

“There is an opportunity for fresh ideas to harness this nascent technology to help deliver big gains for our environment. From transparent and trusted clean and ethical supply chains, to incentivizing sustainable consumption and production, or underpinning the much-needed transition to low carbon decentralized energy, water, and mobility systems.”

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She added that blockchain could “bring about a transition to cleaner and more resource-friendly solutions, as well as to “unlock natural capital and empower communities.”


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