Blockchain technologies don’t enjoy a good reputation when it comes to environmental sustainability. The reason is that sometimes the word blockchain is used as a synonym for bitcoin, but one – blockchain – is the means to pursue a purpose, the cryptocurrencies. It is true that bitcoin mining requires an enormous amount of electricity and this makes cryptocurrencies a sector with a high environmental impact. According to the Cambridge Bitcoin Electricity Consumption Index, crypto is accountable for the consumption of 0.5% of global energy production

But blockchain is not only related to bitcoin and it can be one of the technologies for a sustainable future

New technologies: blockchain

Blockchain is a technology of the “Distributed Ledger family”, that includes systems based on a digital ledger of information or transactions, distributed across the entire network of computer systems. Data are clustered in blocks and are chained together. Systems using blockchain technology are traceable, verifiable, decentralized, and reliable

A block of content cannot be changed or deleted but other blocks can be added. This system of recording information makes blockchain always reliable and transparent because it cannot be manipulated or hacked. This technology is a valuable resource for solutions that can satisfy ESG in Industry 4.0. 

Blockchain for a sustainable future 

Environmental sustainability is a fundamental subject that companies need to prioritize for the future of their businesses. Clients have become more sensitive to this topic; they are willing to choose sustainable products despite a higher price or, on the other hand, they turn towards other products if it doesn’t match their values. However, information cannot be always tracked and it can be modified to ‘correct’ some data that are not compliant or aligned with the clients’ values. 

Blockchain can support companies to efficiently inform clients (either consumers or investors) about a product or a service in the real world or in the most recent metaverse

Applications of a blockchain can be multiple. A company that produces organic food can show all the steps: from the raw materials to the finished product and the commitment to the environment. 

 Another example could be a company that has to monitor carbon emissions. Combining blockchain technology and Internet of Things technology it is possible to collect real-time data with verifiable and secure tracking. 

Blockchain: what institutions think about this new technology

International and national institutions are confident that blockchain can be an instrument for environmental sustainability. According to the United Nations, blockchain can have significant benefits to a more sustainable global economy. 

On the national level, thanks to PNRR (National Recovery and Resilience Plan), the digital sector will drastically grow over the next few years with a forecast of 50 billion investments by 2026. In December 2021, the Ministry of Economic Development signed a decree for the Fund for new technology development with an initial investment of €45 million. The fund aims to finance research and innovation projects related to the transitional program 4.0.

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