The World Economic Forum (WEF) report said that blockchain represents a core element of sustainable digital finance, a new paradigm that combines emerging technology with environmentally conscious business models.
It has been reported that Karin Oertli, the UBS Executive, listed blockchain technology along with artificial intelligence (AI), mobile platforms, and the Internet of Things (IoT) as being the cornerstones of digital finance.
However, these technologies, when combined with environmental, social, and governance frameworks, could help governments and corporations reach their lofty sustainable development goals.
“We believe that sustainable digital finance will play an essential role in efficiently channeling this capital to fuel innovation, growth and job creation, at the same time supporting the transition to a sustainable, low-carbon economy.”
Oertli’s comments are consistent with earlier research from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, which touted blockchain as a “digital enabler for sustainable finance” and carbon reduction.
The OECD said:
“The core properties of blockchain and other DLT can enable deeper technological integration, standardization, and the possibility of new business models.”
Although annual carbon dioxide emissions continue to grow on a global scale, Western nations appear to have lowered their carbon footprints relative to peak levels. Europe’s CO2 emissions crested in the early 1990s before declining over the next decade.
The United States saw its peak in 2007, right before the global financial crisis.
In 2018, a widely published study in Joule indicated that the Bitcoin network consumes the equivalent of a quarter of Australia’s electricity.
Likewise, organizations like the OECD feel blockchain technology leverages key aspects of transparency, data auditability, process efficiency, and automation that can “drive the systemic changes needed to deliver sustainable infrastructure.”
Thus, the WEF stated that some of the 1,200-plus “climate tech” startups to launch since 2013 have leveraged blockchain and other emerging technologies.