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Asahi Kasei, Neste back blockchain sustainability startup Circularise $11m funding

sustainable supply chain circular economy life cycle assessment

Dutch blockchain sustainability startup Circularise announced an €11 million ($11m) funding round led by Brightlands Venture Partners in addition to Asahi Kasei, Neste, and existing investor 4impact Capital. In 2020 the company  secured €1.5 million in funding from the European Commission under the EU Horizon 2020 program.

Circularise already has numerous projects with big-name clients, including Asahi Kasei, Covestro, Domo ChemicalsMarubeniMitsubishi ChemicalsNestePhilips Domestic Appliances and Porsche.

The startup uses blockchain for its two supply chain solutions. One is for product passports that provide provenance and carbon footprint assessments across supply chains. This uses the company’s Smart Questioning technology based on Zero Knowledge Proofs to allow communication without sharing data, identity, or position in the supply chain. For example, it’s possible to ask about the carbon footprint of an item without disclosing all the suppliers in the chain.

A second solution is for so-called mass balancing. Many manufacturing processes use inputs (feedstock) that are more challenging to identify. For example, recycled materials might be mixed with fossil fuels during production. One way to measure the recycled proportion is to say that X proportion of the weight is based on recycled materials. It’s a practical methodology that is seen as controversial in some quarters.

Circularise announced a mass balance project in September with ten corporates, including Philips, Marubeni and Shell.

Some blockchain sustainability and traceability startups use private permissioned blockchains, but Circularise uses public blockchain. However, the company isn’t yet ready to disclose which blockchain and plans a future announcement on the topic.

In addition to a European head office in the Netherlands, the company also has a presence in Japan and its team is now 40 strong.

“This funding round enables us to scale our business operations, product, R&D as well as to expand our international team,” said Circularise’s co-founder Jordi de Vos. “It will not only accelerate our growth as a leading software provider for supply chain traceability, but also support the transition to a circular economy on a global scale.”