Volkswagen 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.
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.
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.
Cobalt is in high demand for use in lithium-ion batteries, which power a wide range of products such as laptops, mobile devices, and electric vehicles. According to a report from Morgan Stanley, by 2026, demand is expected to multiply eightfold, especially for its use in electric vehicles and consumer devices. The typical electric car battery requires up to 20 pounds of cobalt and a standard laptop requires about one ounce of the mineral.
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 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.
The blockchain network includes participants at each major stage of the supply chain from mine to end-user. Other members of the collaboration are Ford Motor Company, Huayou Cobalt, IBM and LG Chem along with co-founding responsible sourcing specialists RCS Global Group.