Chinese auto maker Volvo cars, has made electric cars with cobalt mapped on a Blockchain according to a recent Reuters report. Volvo cars, which is owned and operated by the Geely Automotive Group also joined a project to monitor cobalt from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, which is overseen by responsible sourcing group RCS Global.
Information technology outlet ITNews suggests that the main objective of the initiative by Volvo is to prove that their electric vehicles do not rely on conflict minerals or child labor. Automaker Ford, technology giant IBM, South Korean cathode maker LG chem, and Chinese cobalt supplier Huayou Cobalt also participate in the initiative. In emails sent on Friday by Volvo to Reuters, the company revealed that the system is already in use;
“It tracked cobalt from a Chinese recycling plant to Volvo Cars Zhejiang over a two-month period to June 27.”
The ledger that is in use for the project is reportedly a product of British-based Blockchain startup Circulor, and is based on technology created by the Java tech giant, Oracle. Reuters further noted that the system is expected to be more widely applied next week. In an email, RCS global said that it was pleased Volvo was joining its efforts to achieve “quantifiable and continuous” improvement of supply chains.
People who are involved in the tracking minerals space though insist that the Blockchain alone is not the solution to curb profiteering of off blood minerals and child labor. These groups are studying how entering the data in a distributed ledger can improve accountability and fend off disputes between different parties. The Reuters report also featured a quote from Circulor CEO Doug Johnson-Poensgen which read;
“No technology can completely replace due diligence. What it will do is improve enforcement of standards by highlighting when things are not working as intended.”
The new Volvo cars will have batteries made by Contemporary Amperex Technology Co Ltd (CATL) (300750.SZ). With the battery mineral Cobalt being specifically tough to attain due to the fact that two thirds of its supply is from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, where governance challenges are in the extreme.
The involvement of the Blockchain in Mineral tracking is yet another vital use case of the technology. This comes after other impressive use cases that have seen Blockchain projects certifying the origin of olive oil in order to reduce costs by streamlining cross-border banking payments.
Image Courtesy of autoevolution.com