Automakers and suppliers say it's vital that the cobalt, lithium, copper and other materials used in electric vehicle batteries are sourced responsibly, and they are turning to blockchain technology to ensure that happens.
Blockchain — a digital ledger that records transactions and stores the information across multiple computer networks — has been used in recent years to track everything from medical records to food supply data to cryptocurrency.
The technology, experts say, can save automakers money by modernizing and streamlining key elements of their supply chain so they can easily tell whether human rights or environmental violations have occurred in the mines and refineries that produce the ingredients used to make EV batteries.
Ford Motor, Volkswagen, LG Chem, Huayou Cobalt, IBM and RSC Global Group in 2019 founded the Responsible Sourcing Blockchain Network to do just that. Tesla in its 2020 impact report, revealed that it's using different blockchain solutions to trace its cobalt and nickel supplies. And Volvo Cars last year said it would invest in blockchain traceability firm Circulor.