Belgian-based materials and chemicals firm Solvay is conducting trials on ChemChain’s blockchain platform to track and trace the supply chain of various products. ChemChain was created by the team behind the regulatory platform Chemycal. Solvay has both revenues and a market capitalization in excess of €10 billion ($12 billion).
It is estimated that 80% of companies are experiencing increasing demand for data about product chemical composition. In addition, new requirements and corporate social responsibility expectations are forcing chemical companies to be more strict with the management and sharing of information and to invest in more sustainable production practices. In Europe alone, €9.5 billion ($11.5 billion) is spent yearly by the chemical industry to comply with regulations, according to ChemChain.
ChemChain’s blockchain technology facilitates regulatory compliance and addresses the shift in demand. Data can be more easily uploaded and monitored, and consumers can trust the source of information. In addition, all data from manufacturers to end consumers is managed in a single platform, making the process more efficient easier to audit to ensure that Solvay’s claimed sustainable progress is underway.
Data is collected by assigning digital tokens representing quantities of substances generated when a chemical is produced. The tokens are passed along the supply chain and multiple tokens from different compounds will accumulate along the way. Information on handling, usage, and exposure is also collected in each supply chain step.
One particularly attractive aspect of the initiative between Solvay and ChemChain is that it is promoting a circular economy. The company is investing in a series of recyclable products and wants to use blockchain technology to recover materials from such products and effectively put them to use. In addition, Solvay aims to have 15% of its products coming from renewable or recycled resources by 2030.
“ChemChain would be instrumental in allowing circular processes, which are among the chemical industry’s most exciting contributions to a sustainable future,” said Sophie Maillet, Digital Hub Coordinator at Solvay.
ChemChain’s protocol is based on the Hyperledger Fabric enterprise blockchain.
Meanwhile, various other initiatives promoting sustainable practices and supply chain traceability are underway. BASF has a solution that also assigns digital tokens based on plastic production ingredients, facilitating sorting plastic for recycling and promoting more sustainable production practices. An active player in plastics traceability is blockchain firm Circularise, which recently received $1.8 million in funding from the EU’s Horizon 2020 program. The Dutch startup currently has projects with Porsche, Japanese conglomerate Marubeni and plastics companies DOMO and Covestro.