How Features of Blockchain Support Sustainability Efforts? 

The influence of blockchain on the natural environment is relatively well-known. On the other hand,  how do features of blockchain support sustainability efforts? Blockchain technology holds immense potential to support sustainability efforts across various industries.

Its transparency helps reduce carbon emissions by identifying more efficient routes and methods. 

Furthermore, blockchain networks can facilitate green finance initiatives by ensuring funds are used specifically for eco-friendly projects. Overall, blockchain offers a promising tool for enhancing environmental sustainability.

Before we see in detail how features of blockchain support sustainability efforts, let’s look at what blockchain represents.

What is Blockchain?

If you’ve heard of Bitcoin and Ethereum, you may have encountered blockchain without fully understanding it.

The blockchain represents a sequence of blocks linked to each other in which each block corresponds to a set of transactions. A blockchain is defined as a database stored on a decentralized network.

Unlike traditional banking systems, blockchain aims to be decentralized. This means that instead of having a bank that controls and validates transactions, a network of computers called validators or nodes distributes this role. 

These computers must approve every transaction according to pre-established rules, ensuring the security and integrity of the data.

4 Main Advantages of Blockchain:

The advantages of blockchain can be summarized in 4 points:

  • Security: Blockchain uses cryptography to secure data, making transactions immutable and safe from tampering.
  • Transparency:  All transactions on the blockchain are recorded transparently and are publicly accessible, allowing for full verification and traceability.
  • Decentralization: Instead of relying on a central authority (like a bank), blockchain distributed control among many network participants, reducing the risk of corruption or failure of a central point.
  • Efficiency: Blockchain, in theory, allows for faster and less expensive transactions than traditional systems by eliminating intermediaries and simplifying processes.

The initial idea for creating blockchain technology remains highly useful today. Transferring money through blockchain can be cheaper and quicker than using traditional money transfer services.

While the idea works very well for cryptocurrencies, many other useful blockchain applications exist. Some are insurance, real estate, voting, artists’ royalties, non-fungible tokens, and logistics.

The Pillars of Blockchain Technology

how features of blockchain support sustainability efforts

Let’s take a concrete example of the Bitcoin blockchain operating with the Proof of Work consensus.

A transaction carries out, transferring BTC from person A to person B. The digital signature determines the sending of the transaction.

Broadcasting the transaction in the network to all computers (or nodes) connected to the blockchain network. These nodes receive a copy of this transaction. They verify and validate the details of this transaction using algorithms.

The creation of a new block takes place. It corresponds to the grouping of several validated transactions. This block also includes a special cryptographic code, a hash, which links it to the last block in the chain, ensuring the continuity and integrity of the blockchain and a new hash. The mining process begins when miners use their computing power to find a new hash compatible with the last block in the chain. The miner who successfully finds this hash adds the new block to the chain and is rewarded as BTC. This financial incentive is necessary to encourage miners to participate in blockchain operations.

Once the new block is added, the Bitcoin blockchain is updated on all nodes in the network. Every copy of the blockchain is identical, making the data immutable and verifiable by anyone at any time.

Blockchain’s Impact on the Environment

Before we see how features of blockchain support sustainability, let’s see its impact on the environment. 

We should remember that blockchain is a buzzword but is not a one-size-fits-all solution. Policymakers and technologists must thoughtfully integrate it with policy frameworks and other technologies to achieve sustainability goals.

The best-known cryptocurrency is often stigmatized for its high energy consumption. Bitcoin and first-generation cryptocurrencies are based on the Proof of Work mechanism. 

This means that to carry out a transaction in the blockchain (add a new block), all miners (members constituting the blockchain) must validate the operation. This principle is called mining.

Thus, the more miners there are in the blockchain, the more secure the transactions are and the greater the energy consumption, which leads to carbon emissions when it comes to fossil energy sources.

Today, the environmental impacts are such that certain countries, such as China, Kazakhstan and Sweden, ban the mining of cryptocurrencies. Therefore, without a new, greener solution, the sustainability of the entire functioning of the blockchain is threatened. 

Initiatives are emerging to ensure a more sustainable and greener blockchain, like Bitcoin, which can use any energy source, including waste.

Proof of Stake is gradually replacing the Proof at Work algorithm. Greenpeace and other environmental groups are defending it. 

Unlike the Proof of Work mechanism, Proof of Stake does not require all miners to validate each transaction and is drastically less energy-intensive. 

This principle asks users to prove possession of a certain quantity of cryptocurrency to validate new blocks in the blockchain and derive profits. 

The second cryptocurrency in the world, Ethereum, has reduced its energy consumption by 99.9% by switching from the Proof Of Work algorithm to that of Proof Of Stake.

How Can Features of Blockchain Support Sustainability Efforts

how features of blockchain support sustainability efforts

Blockchain technology revolutionises sustainability by enhancing transparency, reducing waste, and promoting environmentally friendly practices. But how can we use blockchain to support sustainable business practices? 

Here’s how features of blockchain support sustainability efforts and help achieve a green agenda :

1. Increasing Transparency and Security

Blockchain creates a secure and transparent record of transactions and product journeys. This immutable ledger ensures that every step in a supply chain, from production to disposal, is traceable. This visibility helps reduce fraud, waste, and unethical practices, ensuring products meet sustainability standards.

2. Enhancing Traceability in Supply Chains

Supply chains are notoriously complex, with many stages and actors involved. Blockchain’s ability to provide a detailed record of the provenance and journey of products allows for better monitoring and accountability. Consumers can make informed choices, supporting businesses that adhere to sustainable practices.

3. Facilitating Sustainable Practices

Blockchain can securely and transparently track and verify the compliance and performance of various actors within the supply chain. This helps improve the efficiency and effectiveness of these chains, enhancing the trust and reputation of the companies involved.

4. Promoting Decentralized Energy Solutions

Blockchain enables the creation of decentralized energy systems where individuals can generate, store, and share renewable energy without intermediaries. This reduces reliance on fossil fuels, lowers the carbon footprint, and supports the transition to a sustainable energy future.

5. Streamlining Carbon Credits and Trading

Blockchain increases the transparency and credibility of carbon credits by securely recording emission reductions and preventing issues like double counting. It facilitates peer-to-peer transactions and smart contracts in carbon trading, making investing in green initiatives easier for businesses and individuals.

6. Supporting Green Investments

Blockchain platforms standardize and streamline the issuance and management of sustainable assets like green bonds and ESG-focused investments. They provide a framework that ensures the traceability and verification of the environmental and social impacts, attracting more investors to fund sustainable initiatives.

7. Reducing Carbon Footprint

By promoting renewable energy and reducing reliance on centralized power grids, blockchain helps decrease greenhouse gas emissions. Decentralized platforms like Power Ledger allow users to sell excess renewable energy, promoting a lower carbon economy.

In summary, the impact of blockchain on sustainability is profound. It helps clarify things and promotes eco-friendly actions. It also aids in managing environmental impacts and involves businesses and individuals in sustainability efforts. This ultimately moves us towards a more sustainable future.

What Are the SDGs, and Why Are They Important?

Sustainable Development Goals

In September 2015, the Sustainable Development Goals, which were agreed upon at the Rio+20 summit, were adopted by the UN General Assembly with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

By 2030, 17 SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals), linked to 169 sub-goals, must form an action plan to free humanity from poverty and put the planet back on the path to sustainability. 

These objectives are one and inseparable. They reflect the three dimensions of sustainable development: the economic, social and ecological.

These goals form a unique fusion of two global agendas, namely that of sustainable development and that of development cooperation. 

This agenda emphasizes “universality,” meaning policymakers should ensure implementation in the Global South and across the entire planet.

To monitor progress in achieving the UN objectives and sub-objectives, UNSTAT presented a set of 242 global indicators in March 2016 to measure the 169 sub-objectives.

Several indicators, a central aspect, must be divided according to relevant categories such as gender, age, geographic location, etc.

For certain indicators, significant methodological conformity already exists, while for other indicators, studies still need to take place. 

This is, therefore, a list that will certainly continue to evolve in the future. It is also important to remember that these indicators only form a global start, with Member States encouraged to provide more precise measurements through refinement at the national level.

How Can Blockchain Technology Help the Environment?

Another way that blockchain technology can support sustainability efforts is by facilitating peer-to-peer energy trading, reducing reliance on centralized power grids, and promoting renewable energy adoption.

Energy is one of the most critical and essential resources for human development and well-being. Still, fossil fuel-derived energy is one of the main environmental degradation and pollution sources. Therefore, there is a need to transition to a more sustainable and resilient energy system that can provide clean, affordable, and reliable energy for all.

Blockchain can enable such a transition. It can create a decentralized and distributed energy system. Users can generate, store, and share renewable energy without intermediaries or central authorities.

This can help users rely less on the power grid, save money on energy, and reduce carbon emissions.

It can give users more power and freedom while creating new opportunities for energy producers and consumers.


Blockchain technology contains many features that support sustainability across different sectors. From facilitating renewable energy integrations to enhancing supply chain transparency, blockchain technology enables proper infrastructure to address social and environmental challenges. 

Relying on the unique attributes of blockchain communities and organizations can create solutions for a sustainable future. Blockchain technology can help with sustainability and implementing new standards. This can improve the business world and make our planet a better place.

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