Volkswagen Group shared a press release on 18 April stating its intention to join a blockchain-powered scheme to ensure efficient sourcing of cobalt used in lithium-ion batteries.

Volkswagen started the press release by conveying that it has entered an open industry collaboration for efficient procuring of strategic minerals. Blockchain technology would be leveraged to enhance ‘efficiency, sustainability and transparency in global mineral supply chains’. Volkswagen expressed that this collaboration would enable greater insights into the origin of cobalt.

Volkswagen Group cited on the applicability of blockchain as –

“Blockchain technology complements both current assessment and audit procedures as well as supports responsible sourcing standards developed by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), enabling a permanent record to help address compliance requirements. Traditionally, miners, smelters and consumer brands had to rely on third-party audits and laborious manual processes to establish compliance with generally accepted industry standards.”

Cobalt is a mineral which consumer products from smartphones to cars use widely. However, two-thirds of the global production of cobalt comes from regions subjected to profound human challenges. The severity is so high that it may involve human right violations including child labour. Some of these businesses are also controlled by insurgents.

Volkswagen added that the new platform built on the IBM Blockchain Platform and powered by the Linux Foundation’s Hyperledger Fabric would be novel. It would provide easy access for interested stakeholders of all varieties and roles in the supply chain. The process of traceability and provenance would be streamlined.

THE NEWS COMES AS A REJUVENATING DEVELOPMENT WHERE BLOCKCHAIN TECHNOLOGY IS BEING LEVERAGED FOR SUPPLY CHAIN. WE MAY SOON SEE MANY MORE VERTICALS SHIFTING OVER TO BLOCKCHAIN.

Volkswagen further added that the participants in the network are validated by RCS Global Group for compliance cum responsible sourcing standards. Such personnel could access and contribute to blockchain data in a secure way while being able to track the supply chain in almost real-time.

Volkswagen concluded by noting that the blockchain network included participants at each lifecycle of the supply chain from mining to the end-user. Other members of the collaboration include Ford Motor Company, Huayou Cobalt, IBM and LG Chem. Volkswagen Group would provide its vast business experience to the initiative by being one of the world’s leading automotive manufacturers. The automotive giant would also contribute with its expertise of viability in supplier relations and mineral sourcing globally.

Recently, a report by Emirates News Agency highlighted the gathering in Abu Dhabi, focused on blockchain technologies in the aviation sector. The report commenced by informing that the inaugural International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Blockchain Summit and Exhibition would kick-off in Abu Dhabi.