Volkswagen Group joins collaboration for responsible sourcing of strategic minerals using blockchain; focus on cobalt
Volkswagen has joined an open industry collaboration for the responsible sourcing of strategic minerals that will use blockchain technology to increase efficiency, sustainability and transparency in global mineral supply chains. Ford Motor Company, Huayou Cobalt, IBM, LG Chem and RCS Global announced the collaboration earlier this year. (Earlier post.)
Joining the collaboration will enable the Volkswagen Group to gain greater insight into the provenance of cobalt used in lithium-ion batteries for electric vehicles and other types of minerals used elsewhere in the production of vehicles.
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.
Built on the IBM Blockchain Platform and powered by the Linux Foundation's Hyperledger Fabric, the new platform for enabling the traceability and provenance of minerals is designed to provide easy access for interested parties of all sizes and roles in the supply chain.
Participants in the network, validated by RCS Global Group for compliance with responsible sourcing standards, can contribute and access immutable data in a secure and permissioned way to trace and record the flow of minerals across the supply chain in near real-time.
Today, the blockchain network includes participants at each major stage of the supply chain from mine to end-user. Work is expected to be extended beyond cobalt into other battery metals and raw materials, including minerals such as tantalum, tin, tungsten and gold, which are sometimes called conflict minerals, as well as rare earths.
Based on its open and democratic structure, the group will further expand membership to focus on industries such as aerospace, consumer electronics and mining operations.