The main idea is to protect the human rights of those who work in the car manufacturing industry and also preserve the environment.

Major car manufacturer Mercedes Benz is working with the blockchain startup Circulor to roll out a pilot aimed at the tracing carbon emissions in the cobalt supply chain. This is a new project for transparency on CO2 emissions, something that would help preserve the environment and will boost the use of blockchain technology in the car industry.

U.K.-based Circulor is also working with the Swedish car brand Volvo Cars to use blockchain technology for tracking recycled cobalt in newly manufactured cars. The reason why they track Cobalt is that it is an essential mineral used in the manufacturing of electric vehicle batteries, as well as in the manufacture of energy storage tanks.

According to a recent press release, the project by Mercedes and Circulor is part of the Startup Autobahn initiative, aimed at identifying next-generation automobiles.

In this way, the companies will use blockchain technology to trace the emissions of climate-relevant gases and the number of recycled materials along all the supply chains of battery cell manufacturers.

Thanks to all the benefits that blockchain technology offers, as well as storing information, Mercedes Benz intends to use all the data collected during this pilot project to develop its new carbon-neutral passenger car fleet, a challenge that goes to new technologies in a greener environment. The idea is to take into account the environmental care agreements that companies must fulfill sooner or later.

Additionally, blockchain technology will be used to ensure all participants follow the established sustainability standards in all the supply chain.

Why Cobalt?

According to local media, the project will focus on cobalt suppliers. This since cobalt supplies have recently raised issues related to provenance and ethics.

Cobalt is a key mineral for making lithium-ion batteries. The problem is that the majority of cobalt production comes from the Democratic Republic of Congo, a region very criticized for its unethical cobalt mining conditions.

In 2017, the United Nations (UN) estimated that 168 million children were in exploitative working conditions. There are about 40,000 children in cobalt mines in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

For this reason, as happens in the food industry, Mercedes Benz considers it is important for other companies and customers to know where the materials come from.

How will it Work?

The blockchain-based pilot program will map the production flow of cobalt materials and their associated carbon emissions. Besides, following its new scheme of work, it will record how much-recycled material gets used in the supply chain.

This initiative will help Mercedes Benz determine whether its partner companies comply with its sustainability requirements.

Other car manufacturing companies are interested in using blockchain technology on their ethical product sourcing and to trace products or materials. Indian automobile manufacturer Tata Motors announced its intention to integrate blockchain solutions into its internal processes.

The firm wants to apply blockchain in the parking marketplace, as well as in the demand prediction algorithm, and real-time monitoring of fuel quality.

By María Rodríguez


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