Blockchain at the service of sustainability

Ecoembes and Minsait develop a proposal to move towards the circular economy

Technology and innovation are great allies for the incorporation of sustainable solutions to current production and consumption processes under the umbrella of the circular economy. The already mature Big Data, the IoT or artificial intelligence help to make better use of natural resources, while the blockchain, which generates benefits in terms of environmental responsibility by transforming traditional processes, is making its way with force.

The ability to manage and circulate information in terms of immutability, mass data storage and connectivity at the service of sustainability offered by technologies such as blockchain have become key allies for companies and public administrations when it comes to meeting the objectives they set. world agendas.

Real solutions

Applied to recycling, the blockchain offers the possibility of improving the traditional process by promoting a trust model thanks to greater transparency in the logistics chain. Other advantages go through the control it offers over the information of the entire process; the establishment of smart contracts; the generation of documentary evidence; a reduction in operating costs; and a clear increase in transparency. Companies that advise on its implementation in company systems are now key to meeting the sustainability objectives of industries and are gaining more and more relevance.

Ecoembes, the organization that contributes to society collaborating more and more with the recycling of packaging through the yellow and blue container in Spain, and Minsait, an Indra company, presented in 2020 CircularTrust, a proposal to encourage the transfer to the circular economy in Spain.

Using blockchain as a technology, Minsait has developed this proposal for Ecoembes, creating an ecosystem that involves different actors in the circular economy. CircularTrust is designed to optimize the process of selecting, collecting and recycling waste, reducing costs and environmental impact and increasing the transparency of the entire process.

It is a network of distributed registries that allows all stakeholders involved in the packaging selection, collection and recycling cycle – public administrations, local entities, operators, recyclers and other organizations – to access all the data in the system and accelerate the transactions linked to the process and improve all the necessary points in a sustainable key.

Another proposal from Minsait and Ecoembes for better waste management is SmartWaste, within TheCircularLab , Ecoembes’s open innovation center, which collects data during the waste collection and selection process through sensors built into trucks, GPS systems and the latest technology in the selection plants. Asturias, La Rioja and Castilla-La Mancha have already been autonomous communities where the project has been put to the test.

Citizen participation

Technology also involves citizens in the preservation of biodiversity and respect for the environment. R ECICLOS, a project that is also part of TheCircularLab, a Return and Reward System (SDR) for the promotion of recycling through a system of points and rewards.

These rewards translate into donations to environmental and social projects, discounts on public transport or products provided by local merchants. This project has the collaboration of Minsait and Blue Room Innovation, and is also deployed on the CircularTrust blockchain network.

The rewards derived from the good practice of citizens and that RECICLOS registers and then transforms into social actions have already been implemented in different areas of the territory, promoting citizen participation in a sustainable way. In Bullas, Murcia, the neighbors have already helped to care for and transform what used to be landfills into green areas, and in Getafe trees have been planted in areas near schools. In Valls, Tarragona, medical supplies have been donated to prevent COVID-19 in families at risk of social exclusion, and in Seville, residents have collaborated with the Food Bank in a solidarity pantry.

In order for the correct use of these technologies to result in models that are closer to caring for nature, it is necessary for businesses to operate on three axes: internal disruption, or the responsibility of business leaders in defining the role of the organization in relation to sustainable global transformation; collective action, reaching commitments with political leaders, scientific communities, leaders of other industrial sectors and consumers; and the long-term vision, betting on the culture of innovation and the spirit of sustainable transformation.

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