SustainBlock

Blockchain-assisted Mineral Supply Chain Due Diligence

Do your products contain tin, tungsten, tantalum (3T), gold, and other minerals of undetermined origin? There are many ways for your company to participate in the SustainBlock project. Get in touch!

SustainBlock is a blockchain-based project to demonstrate the presence of artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM) mine sites in the supply chain of mineral and metal end-users, and in turn provide downstream companies with access to information on the provenance of minerals contained in their products.

Project Description

Executive Summary


The goal of this project is to create a blockchain-enabled system for tracking the provenance of certain raw materials produced in conflict-affected and high-risk areas – e.g. Conflict Minerals (3TG) – across the entire supply chain via verified, cryptographically secured transactions. With support from the European Partnership for Responsible Minerals (EPRM), the project will be piloted in 2019 along a mineral supply chain originating from Rwanda.

Tracking Accountablity from Mine to Store

iPoint, in collaboration with BetterChain, has developed a supply chain tracking system from mine to store, thereby demonstrating the relevance of upstream supply chain information to consumer brands’ due diligence. Blockchain technology supports data reporting onto a decentralized network. It provides downstream supply chain participants and end-users access to reliable and verified data on all relevant stages of the supply chain while preserving the commercial confidentiality of supply chain intermediaries.

 

Pilot Project: Minerals in the African Great Lakes Region

The project is being piloted for minerals sourced in the African Great Lakes Region and will run until May 2019. Our prototype set of systems will be applied to a pilot mineral supply chain of tungsten by involving all relevant supply chain economic operators such as the mining operator, participating trader, smelter, and manufacturing companies, as well as other key stakeholders (mining community, government). Creating an eco-system based on blockchain technology enables companies to mutually verify if the pilot, OECD-compliant mining operation is present in their supply chain. This will pave the way for new incentive models stimulating demand for minerals and metals that are responsibly sourced from Rwanda.

 

Project Duration

May 2018 - May 2019

General Objectives

 

This project will

  • establish a proof-of-concept, fully verified supply chain,
  • demonstrate the operability of blockchain technology in the context of responsible minerals determination, and
  • ascertain the data acceptance criteria (sovereignty, privacy, quality and relevance) at all levels of the supply chain.

 

Long Term Objective

 

The long-term objective of the project is to establish a self-sustained, openly accessible supply chain traceability regime which offers a cost-effective way to effectively track the origin of mineral supply chains, verify the evolution of commodity procurement practices in real-time, and incentivize end-user engagement towards the improvement of local circumstances, particularly in the gold and 3T mining sectors.

Benefits of SustainBlock

Manufacturing companies rely on declarations from their suppliers to gather and manage critical compliance information about materials, metals and minerals in their end products. This process requires significant time and resources to compensate for fragmented data and systems around provenance, traceability, compliance and due diligence.

By combining a chain-of-custody solution, providing traceability and provenance, with Due Diligence information in the same solution, SustainBlock replaces “declaration” with “verification”.

This provides several benefits, starting with improved trust between you and your trade partners, which helps accelerate the automation of supply chain workflows whilst protecting trade secrets and  confidentiality. For example, this enables both manufacturers and suppliers to verify certifications and other due diligence information at the mine level.

This leads to increased efficiency and risk reduction, achieved by integrating trusted compliance information into the flow of raw materials and products.

Project Funding
EPRM- European Partnership for Responsible Minerals

The SustainBlock project, including stakeholder consultation and pilot deployment of our blockchain solution, is funded by the European Partnership for Responsible Minerals (EPRM).

 

Project Consortium
iPoint-systems gmbh

iPoint, Project Lead
iPoint is a leading provider of software and services for environmental and social product compliance, and sustainability. Tens of thousands of companies around the globe rely on iPoint's solutions to meet and stay one step ahead of voluntary goals, mandatory regulations, and requirements, such as the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), REACH, RoHS, WEEE, ELV, Conflict Minerals- and Modern Slavery-related laws, as well as other trending developments and challenges governing product, supply chain, and enterprise stewardship. iPoint works hand in hand with clients, partners, international research institutes, and industry associations to develop its industry-leading, award-winning solutions. iPoint’s holistic, circular perspective envisages a continuous, digital system lifecycle management process that supports not only compliance with the law, but also the sustainability of products, value chains, and brands. Since our founding in 2001, iPoint has been constantly expanding the iPoint Group and its portfolio to realize its vision of building an integrated digital platform for the Circular Economy.

Learn more: https://www.ipoint-systems.com/

BetterChain

BetterChain, Project Partner
BetterChain curates a framework to involve mineral end-users in the resolution of ASM challenges, including sustainable funding of upstream due diligence efforts by consumer-facing brands and disintermediation of local communities’ narratives. The framework comprises open-source data reporting tools for in-country stakeholders, an accountability (mine discovery) mechanism for end-users, and a reward model to turn locally-generated data into a valuable asset and incentivize transparent reporting. At scale, the BetterChain framework will provide a monetisation solution for all sources of information on the circumstances of mining and mineral trade.

Learn more: https://bcha.in/

Technology Partners

Founded in June 2018, CircularTree leverages emerging technologies to create new value from information with the goal of making the world a better, more sustainable place. The startup is driven by the question how Blockchain technology can be utilized to facilitate systematic collaboration between and within organizations and at the same time enable them to achieve sustainable and highly efficient supply chains and product life cycles.

CircularTree operates from two major technology hubs in Berlin, Germany and Melbourne, Australia.

Learn more: www.circulartree.com

 

Call for Participation

We invite companies across the mineral supply chain to share expectations in terms of access to upstream insight, as well as to  join us and participate in the EPRM-supported pilot project. Do not hesitate to get in touch with our team if your company imports, processes or otherwise uses minerals and metals produced in conflict-affected and high-risk areas.