Seven leading mining and metals companies, including the Luxembourg-headquartered Eurasian Resources Group, have partnered with the World Economic Forum to experiment, design and deploy blockchain solutions that will accelerate responsible sourcing and sustainability practices.
The Mining and Metals Blockchain Initiative will pool resources and cost, increase speed-to-market and improve industry-wide trust that cannot be achieved by acting individually. It aims to be a neutral enabler for the industry, addressing the lack of standardisation 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 proof-of-concepts for an inclusive blockchain platform. Over time, this could help the industry collectively increase transparency, efficiency or improve reporting of carbon emissions.
In many cases, blockchain projects to support responsible sourcing have been bilateral, often resulting in 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 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.
Benedikt Sobotka, CEO of Eurasian Resources Group, commented: "This initiative responds to a cross-industry desire to collaborate around blockchain technology in efforts to enhance responsible sourcing. By working together, our goal is to develop solutions that can be adopted across the industry and value chain".
Indeed, 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.