A new blockchain-based tool is about to be utilized by a UK Foundation as a foil to cases where companies’ claims of high sustainability ethics are brought into question.
The concept is designed to target the practice of “greenwashing” or “green-sheen” which first came into usage in the 80s prior to the Exxon Valdez oil spill in Alaska in 1989, where 40 million litres of crude oil were spilt into the ocean after the company’s tanker struck a reef.
Before this event in the mid-eighties Exxon’s competitor, oil giant Chevron, had already attempted to pre-empt such an event with their own set of commercials showing Chevron employees protecting wildlife such as bears and sea turtles, and no end of cuddly creatures. The ads won awards and eventually became the hallmark for a case study at Harvard.
However, environmentalists now proclaim the ads to be a greenwashing absolute gold standard for companies to employ in order to cover up environmental mismanagement, such as the Valdez case, which years later had a severe effect on local wildlife and the surrounding environment despite a protracted and expensive clean-up operation.
The new blockchain based concept introduced by the U.K. based Responsible Finance & Investment Foundation (RFI) will ensure that if companies claim their products or indeed company policies to be environmentally friendly, then they will need to be, as this new solution will certainly allow investigation to be facilitated by government agencies against those company’s breaking acceptable environmental standards.
The monitoring of industry standards is long overdue to combat such activities as greenwashing, according to RFI CEO Blake Goud. He reports that the RFI has plans to cooperate with 23 other participants on the project scheduled for release in 2019:
“ while a number of financial institutions are taking advantage of the opacity of commitments and actions, the new blockchain-powered system will allow them to identify companies’ practices in responsible finance in real time as well as will assist new entrants to the sphere.”
Two major participants in the RFI project will be Belgium-based European Partners for the Environment and U.S. based Magni Global Asset Management. Earlier this year 22 EU countries including Norway signed off on the European Blockchain Partnership, an agreement towards launching a similar project which plans to improve the quality of regulatory and reporting standards across Europe.
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