Volvo is joining Ford, Volkswagen and LG Chem to enable live tracking of mineral mining on the blockchain. These companies will be using The Responsible Sourcing Blockchain Network (RSBN) to track cobalt from the mines in Congo all the way to their factory and the final product. IBM announced the collaboration this week, after successfully completing a pilot earlier this year.
Volvo will be the first company in the consortium to apply the RSBN solution in its supply chain. As a result they will start tracking cobalt in Spring 2020. Cobalt is a precious mineral used in batteries for the tech and automotive industries. The car company also wants to use the blockchain solution for other minerals, including nickel and lithium.
“We have always been committed to an ethical supply chain for our raw materials. With blockchain technology we can take the next step in ensuring full traceability of our supply chain and minimising any related risks, in close collaboration with our suppliers.”Martina Buchhauser, head of procurement at Volvo Cars (press release, 11/6/2019)
RSBN is building an open, industry-wide blockchain platform to trace responsibly produced minerals from source to end product. In addition RCS Global Group assesses each participant in the blockchain project. They do this to make sure every participant works according to sourcing requirements. Industry bodies and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) are responsible for the formulation of these requirements.
Volvo was already tracking cobalt
Volvo’s move into the RSBN is a bit of a surprise. In August the car company announced it would work with Oracle and a British startup on a similar blockchain solution. The company even announced that it has produced its first vehicles with recycled and ethically obtained cobalt and other resources. However, it was the Chinese department of Volvo who did this test. It’s likely that the collaboration with IBM comes from the head office of Volvo. Whatever the reasons for the switch might be, it’s clear proof that Volvo believes that blockchain can help to improve the quality of its mining business.
Automotive industry getting into blockchain
The automotive industry is really embracing blockchain technology. For example, Ford is using blockchain and location technology to make sure cars are ‘driving green’ in the city center. In addition Daimler Chrysler wants to build hardware wallets into its cars. This will benefit fleet management for rental car companies for example. On top of that Hyundai wants to pair phones with cars using blockchain technology, while BMW and VeChain will combat fraud.
Also published on Medium.