Blockchain for Carbon Traceability and Transparency

Detailed overview of innovation with sample startups and prominent university research

What it is

Blockchain for carbon traceability and transparency utilizes blockchain technology to track and verify the capture, utilization, and storage of carbon dioxide (CO2). This innovative approach brings secure and immutable record-keeping to the world of carbon management, ensuring transparency, accountability, and trust in carbon accounting and offsetting initiatives.

Impact on climate action

Blockchain for Carbon Traceability and Transparency under C2V – CO2 to Value theme enhances climate action by providing immutable records of carbon emissions, fostering transparency in carbon trading, and enabling efficient tracking of carbon footprints across supply chains. This innovation accelerates the shift towards sustainable practices, driving accountability and informed decision-making.


Several key concepts underpin this innovation:

  • Blockchain Technology: A blockchain is a decentralized, distributed ledger that records transactions in a secure and transparent manner. Each transaction is cryptographically linked to the previous one, creating an immutable record that cannot be altered.
  • Smart Contracts: Self-executing contracts stored on the blockchain can automate processes and ensure compliance with agreed-upon rules, streamlining carbon credit transactions and verification.
  • Tokenization: CO2 emissions, carbon credits, and other environmental assets can be represented as digital tokens on the blockchain, enabling efficient trading and tracking.
  • Decentralized Data Management: Blockchain eliminates the need for a central authority to manage and verify carbon data, promoting transparency and reducing the risk of fraud.

TRL : 6-8

Prominent Innovation themes

  • Interoperable Platforms: Developing interoperable blockchain platforms that connect various stakeholders in the carbon market, including emitters, verifiers, and buyers, can enhance efficiency and transparency.
  • Automated Carbon Accounting: Integrating blockchain with sensor data and other real-time information sources can automate carbon accounting processes, reducing manual effort and improving accuracy.
  • Traceability of Carbon Offsets: Blockchain can track the origin and impact of carbon offset projects, ensuring their credibility and environmental integrity.
  • Decentralized Carbon Markets: Blockchain enables the creation of decentralized carbon markets, facilitating peer-to-peer trading of carbon credits without the need for intermediaries.

Other Innovation Subthemes

  • Decentralized Carbon Ledger
  • Immutable Carbon Transactions
  • Automated Carbon Credit Verification
  • Smart Contract Carbon Trading
  • Tokenized Carbon Assets
  • Transparent Carbon Footprint Tracking
  • Decentralized Carbon Marketplaces
  • Trustworthy Carbon Offsetting
  • Real-Time Carbon Emissions Monitoring
  • Blockchain-Enabled Carbon Auditing
  • Seamless Carbon Credit Trading
  • Verified Carbon Offset Projects
  • Decentralized Carbon Data Management
  • Secure Carbon Footprint Verification

Sample Global Startups and Companies

  • Nori:
    • Technology Focus: Nori specializes in using blockchain technology to create a marketplace for carbon removal credits. They enable individuals and businesses to directly fund projects that remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, providing a transparent and verifiable way to offset carbon emissions.
    • Uniqueness: Nori’s approach stands out for its focus on carbon removal rather than just carbon offsetting. They leverage blockchain to create a decentralized platform that ensures transparency, traceability, and accountability in carbon removal efforts.
    • End-User Segments: Nori’s platform caters to businesses, organizations, and individuals looking to offset their carbon footprint and contribute to global climate solutions. Their target customers include companies in industries with high carbon emissions, such as transportation, energy, and manufacturing.
  • ClimateTrade:
    • Technology Focus: ClimateTrade utilizes blockchain technology to trace and verify carbon credits throughout their lifecycle. They offer a platform where companies can buy and sell carbon credits with confidence, ensuring transparency and integrity in carbon offsetting transactions.
    • Uniqueness: ClimateTrade distinguishes itself through its use of blockchain to enhance the transparency and reliability of carbon markets. Their platform provides a secure and immutable ledger for tracking carbon credits, reducing the risk of fraud and double-counting.
    • End-User Segments: ClimateTrade serves a wide range of businesses and organizations seeking to offset their carbon emissions and comply with sustainability goals. Their platform appeals to companies across various sectors, including finance, technology, and retail.
  • Veridium:
    • Technology Focus: Veridium leverages blockchain technology to tokenize carbon credits, making them easily tradable and transparent. They offer solutions for verifying the environmental impact of products and services, enabling businesses to demonstrate their commitment to sustainability.
    • Uniqueness: Veridium stands out for its focus on tokenizing carbon credits, allowing for greater liquidity and accessibility in carbon markets. By using blockchain, they ensure the integrity and authenticity of carbon credits, fostering trust and accountability.
    • End-User Segments: Veridium’s solutions are targeted at companies looking to reduce their carbon footprint and achieve environmental sustainability. Their clients span various industries, including agriculture, forestry, and consumer goods, where carbon emissions are significant concerns.

Sample Research At Top-Tier Universities

  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT):
    • Technology Enhancements: MIT researchers are pioneering the integration of blockchain technology into the CO2 to value (C2V) process to enhance carbon traceability and transparency. They are developing blockchain-based platforms that enable real-time tracking of carbon emissions, carbon credits, and the conversion of CO2 into valuable products.
    • Uniqueness of Research: MIT’s approach combines expertise in blockchain technology, carbon capture, and chemical engineering to create a decentralized and transparent system for managing carbon emissions and carbon offsets. By leveraging blockchain’s immutability and transparency, they aim to address issues of trust and accountability in the carbon market.
    • End-use Applications: The research at MIT has implications for various industries, including renewable energy, manufacturing, and agriculture. By enabling transparent and verifiable tracking of carbon emissions and carbon offsets, the blockchain-based platforms developed at MIT can help companies and governments meet their sustainability goals and mitigate climate change.
  • Stanford University:
    • Technology Enhancements: Researchers at Stanford University are exploring the use of blockchain technology to facilitate the trading of carbon credits generated through CO2 to value processes. They are developing decentralized platforms that enable peer-to-peer trading of carbon credits, thereby streamlining the carbon market and incentivizing investments in carbon capture technologies.
    • Uniqueness of Research: Stanford’s research focuses on the intersection of blockchain technology, environmental economics, and policy analysis. They are studying the impact of blockchain-based carbon markets on emissions reduction, carbon pricing, and sustainable development goals.
    • End-use Applications: The research at Stanford has implications for carbon-intensive industries such as energy, transportation, and manufacturing. By creating transparent and efficient carbon markets, the blockchain-based platforms developed at Stanford can help catalyze investments in CO2 to value technologies and accelerate the transition to a low-carbon economy.
  • University of Cambridge:
    • Technology Enhancements: Researchers at the University of Cambridge are developing blockchain-based systems for tracking the lifecycle of CO2 emissions from capture to utilization. They are integrating smart contracts and IoT sensors into the C2V process to automate the verification and validation of carbon credits and ensure compliance with regulatory requirements.
    • Uniqueness of Research: Cambridge’s research emphasizes the importance of data integrity and privacy in blockchain-based carbon markets. They are exploring innovative encryption techniques and privacy-preserving protocols to protect sensitive information while maintaining transparency and accountability.
    • End-use Applications: The research at Cambridge has implications for carbon markets, environmental policy, and sustainable development initiatives. By enhancing the transparency and traceability of carbon emissions and carbon credits, the blockchain-based systems developed at Cambridge can help build trust among stakeholders and unlock new opportunities for investment in CO2 to value technologies.

commercial_img Commercial Implementation

Several companies are already implementing blockchain technology for carbon traceability and transparency:

  • IBM: IBM has partnered with Veridium to develop a blockchain-based platform for carbon credit trading and tracking.
  • Shell: Shell is exploring the use of blockchain to improve the transparency and traceability of its carbon emissions and offsetting activities.
  • Microsoft: Microsoft has committed to using blockchain technology to achieve its carbon neutrality goals, tracking its emissions and offset purchases on a transparent ledger.