We are excited to share that Climate Connect Digital (CCD) hosted its webinar on the 24th of May. This impactful event was centred around Digital Measurement, Reporting, and Verification (DMRV). DMRV represents a paradigm shift in climate action, leveraging advanced technology to automate the precise measurement, reporting, and verification of greenhouse gas emissions and sustainability metrics. With the potential to significantly reduce the time it takes to verify carbon credits, DMRV has captured the attention of environmental enthusiasts and industry professionals alike.
During their joint presentation, Cathy Mulligan and Sanand Sule delved into the complex relationship between technology, specifically blockchain, and its potential to address climate change. Cathy has led the World Economic Forum’s Crypto Impact Sustainability Accelerator (CISA) working group since 2022. Along with Sanand, CCD’s Chief Technology Officer, she was instrumental in producing the group’s latest report on blockchain.
This report, now available from the WEF website, contains three main objectives. Firstly, it outlines guiding principles for implementing blockchain. Secondly, it examined the current state of environmental impact caused by various blockchain technologies. Lastly, it aimed to create a unified impact assessment framework that considers environmental, economic, and social perspectives, enabling blockchain companies to prepare for upcoming regulations.
While AI can contribute to combating climate change by streamlining activities, it is important to recognize that technology itself can also have adverse environmental effects. To achieve global net-zero goals, it becomes crucial to mitigate these impacts and ensure that the overall benefits align with sustainability objectives.
Cathy stressed the importance of effective measurement techniques in assessing the multi-dimensional impacts of blockchain solutions. The complexity arises from direct, indirect, and tertiary impacts on economic, environmental, and social aspects. To optimise this process, an automated MRV system becomes essential. She proceeded to discuss the concept of a data supply chain, which involves gathering and processing diverse data inputs, utilising AI and machine learning to ensure data correctness, integrity, and relevance.
Sanand focused on the MRV process within blockchain solutions, highlighting factors that influence measurement accuracy. One key factor is the algorithm choice, where proof-of-work algorithms like Bitcoin can consume significant energy, leading to varying consumption data reported. Another factor stems from the distinction between permissioned and permissionless blockchains, with the latter posing challenges in obtaining reliable data due to its decentralised nature.
Additionally, Sanand addressed the need for validating blockchain claims related to climate change impact and considering the carbon intensity of blockchain solutions based on deployment locations and infrastructure choices.
This presentation also touched upon reporting frameworks. Sanand explained that financial materiality reporting quantifies the economic and financial impact of blockchain solutions, while impact materiality reporting focuses on disclosing the social and environmental effects, such as CO2 emissions reduction. A third, newly emerging, reporting group combines elements of both frameworks.
In summary, this webinar session shed light on the potential of blockchain technology to drive sustainable outcomes and combat climate change. They emphasised the importance of addressing the negative environmental impacts of technology, developing unified impact assessment frameworks, implementing accurate measurement techniques, and utilising appropriate reporting frameworks. By embracing these considerations, blockchain solutions can effectively contribute to global sustainability goals.