Volvo to use blockchain in cobalt tracking
The car company has found a way to make sure that the materials they use are obtained ethically
The Swedish automobile company Volvo launched its first fully electric model in October last year. Electric cars are a eco-friendly alternative to fight the pollution and contamination that vehicles that run on fuel produce. However, manufacturing them still brings up some topics that are up to debate.
One of the main issues that companies are trying to tackle is how cobalt, an essential part in lithium-ion batteries, is obtained. Over half of the amount of it that is used worldwide comes from the Democratic Republic of Congo, and around 15-20% of the cobalt coming from this country is being mined by independent miners. The conditions in which they do it are unknown and it’s not clear if it’s made in a responsible way or in a safe environment.
Blockchain technology makes it possible to create a totally reliable and immutable data network containing all the information needed to track the material all the way back to its extraction. “With blockchain technology, we can take the next step towards ensuring full traceability of our supply chain and minimising any related risks, in close collaboration with our suppliers”, said senior vice president of procurement at Volvo Cars, Martina Buchhauser.
“By working with our suppliers to make sure that the raw materials in our batteries, including minerals like cobalt, come from ethical supply chains, we’re able to extend our promise of safety to drivers, miners, and the environment”, said Martina Buchhauser.
The technology used will be operated by Circulor and Oracle. Both CATL and LG Chem – Volvo’s battery suppliers – have agreed on being part of this project in order to implement cobalt traceability as soon as possible and combat the illicit practices on the extraction of cobalt.
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