Mercedes-Benz to use blockchain in cobalt supply chain

Mercedes-Benz has announced that it has partnered up with Circulor, a traceability startup, to pilot blockchain technology to track carbon emissions, ethical compliance and product flow in its cobalt supply chain, which is a key raw material in electric vehicle (EV) batteries.

With the majority of the world’s cobalt coming from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, where “the production is notorious for involving child labor and other human rights abuses”, the blockchain platform intends to help Mercedes-Benz hold suppliers accountable for ensuring “working conditions, human rights, environmental protection, safety, business ethics, and compliance are passed on to all companies involved”. While it is unclear from the announcement of how the company will use the blockchain project to ensure human rights and ethical accountability, the press release emphasized the company’s commitment on tracking carbon emissions.

The pilot will also form part of the company’s wider Ambition2039 program, which was launched in May 2019. The program has aim to make its European supply chain carbon neutral by 2022 and for the company to work alongside manufacturers and suppliers to ensure production facilities transition to renewable power and less carbon-intensive operations in the coming years.