German luxury carmaker Mercedes-Benz has teamed up with British blockchain startup Circulor for a pilot project that aims to enhance transparency in CO2 emissions in the cobalt supply chain using blockchain technology.
The project is in line with Mercedes-Benz Cars’ “Ambition2039” that aims for a carbon-neutral new passenger car fleet in less than 20 years. It will initially focus on cobalt, which enters the supply chain from recycling facilities.
In early 2019, Mercedes-Benz partnered with Icertis to develop a blockchain prototype to bring more transparency to supply chains. The car manufacturer said that the insights gained will be incorporated into the new pilot project.
The partnering companies will use blockchain technology to track the emissions of climate-relevant gases, the amount of secondary material, and the complex supply chains of battery cell manufacturers.
According to a press release, a blockchain-based system will map the production flow of the materials as well as the associated CO2 emissions. It will also record the amount of recycled material in the supply chain – in line with Mercedes-Benz’s long-term goal of a “circular economy”.
In addition, the network will display whether parent firm Daimler’s sustainability requirements in terms of working conditions, human rights, environmental protection, safety, business ethics, and compliance are passed on to all companies involved. With the pilot project, Mercedes-Benz said that it is driving transparency in the supply chain beyond the direct contractual partners.
Markus Schäfer, Member of the Board of Management of Daimler AG and Mercedes-Benz AG, said that they are the first manufacturer to use blockchain technology to map CO2 emissions in the global battery cell supply chain.
“With Ambition2039, Mercedes-Benz Cars has set itself high goals. We can only get there in close cooperation with our suppliers. The key is transparency: It is our aspiration to make all processes transparent and traceable,” he said.
Last year, tech giant IBM announced a new initiative, called the Responsible Sourcing Blockchain Network (RSBN), which aims to provide traceability and verification of responsible sourcing practices of minerals – cobalt, mica, and 3TG conflict minerals: tungsten, tantalum, tin, and gold – from mine to market. Members include Ford, Volkswagen Group, LG Chem, Huayou Cobalt, Volvo Cars, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, and more recently Glencore.