Volvo to Trace Battery Cobalt Supply Chain Using Blockchain

Gothenburg-based car manufacturing company, Volvo, has revealed plans to use blockchain technology in tracking the global supply chain of the Cobalt used in its electric car batteries, according to a Wednesday report

For the initiative, Volvo Cars reached an agreement with its two Asian battery suppliers – “CATL” and “LG Chem” based in China and South Korea respectively. 

The deal with both suppliers covers for the battery supply of Volvo’s newly launched electric model XC40 Recharge, Polestar models, and the next generation of Volvo cars in the coming decade.

Following the report, the blockchain technology across CATL’s supply chain will be operated by Circulor, a blockchain specialist, and the technology firm Oracle. This is coming after a successful pilot earlier this summer.

American IT company, IBM, together with the Responsible Sourcing Blockchain Network (RSBN) and RCS Global, will roll out the blockchain in LG Chem’s supply chain.

The blockchain is said to cover several data regarding Cobalt, such as the origin, size, weight, including the chain of custody and information that guarantees that the participants in the supply chain comply with OECD guidelines, as Volvo noted.

Blockchain holds significant use cases for automakers. Deploying the immutable ledger technology helps to improve the scrutiny of supply chains and also shows sourcing does not depend on conflict minerals or child labor.

“With blockchain technology, we can take the next step towards ensuring full traceability of our supply chain and minimizing any related risks, in close collaboration with our suppliers,” Martina Buchhauser, the head of procurement for Volvo Cars added.

Originally, Cobalt is in high demand, based on the fact that it is quite an essential mineral for making lithium-ion batteries.

Volvo, which was able to use recycled Cobalt mapped using blockchain, also disclosed its focus is to secure a responsible and transparent supply chain for tin, tungsten, tantalum, and gold by next year. The company further revealed that it plans to apply blockchain tracking for lithium and nickel in the future.

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