According to several researchers, Blockchain technology is a registry system that organizes the data used in communications or transactions through a publicly available digital block network.
"Each of these blocks contains a digital signature and timestamp, which renders the individual blocks virtually immutable. Blockchain applications are being developed according to a peer-to-peer logic in which organizations can exchange goods, services, and information without the need of central bodies to verify identity, validate transactions, or enforce commitments or at least by removing the need of many intermediaries as it happens today".
The most notable blockchain application is in the development and operation of cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin or Ethereum. In addition to the financial services industry, blockchain is also considered in other sectors, such as international trade, taxation, supply chain management, business operations, and governance.
Although it is at a very early stage, many technology professionals argue that this tool could change the dynamics of organizations.
Blockchain and environmental sustainability
Blockchain’s appeal stems from its ability to support transparent data exchange, business process optimization, reduced operating costs, improving collaborative efficiency, and developing a system that does not require the explicit incorporation of trust in its control, as in the case of supply chains.
However, it is important to question how this tool can help us meet the challenges of environmental sustainability.
In principle, it can do so through mechanisms related to the rights we as citizens have over resources, product origins, and behavioral incentives. That is, it could be seen in the optimization of new sustainable production tools, as well as the monitoring and storage of data related to environmental pollution.
In addition, the development of applications of this type also allows the collection and analysis in real-time of information related to air quality, which makes it possible to improve the management of organizations, promoting the development of new environmental care strategies.
New means of sustainable environmental monitoring based on supply chains will reduce CO2 emissions, monitor hazardous waste, and create an incentive system that promotes new recycling methods, the strengthening of circular economy practices, and the control of the use of natural resources, especially in the agri-food industry.
In countries like China, the government is working to curb its pattern of environmental damage. They have therefore adjusted their strategy for sustainable development and are encouraging the public to participate in this process. For example, with the support of the government, a Chinese non-governmental organization, the Institute of Public and Environmental Affairs, launched an application called "Blue Sky" that allows the public to verify real-time data on air and water quality, local sources of pollution, and scrutinize the emissions of 9,000 polluting companies. All the published data have put public pressure on these companies, encouraging them to take measures to reduce pollution.