Blockchain for Emission Tracking and Verification

Detailed overview of innovation with sample startups and prominent university research

What it is

Blockchain technology is being utilized to create secure, transparent, and tamper-proof systems for tracking and verifying emissions data. This innovation addresses the need for accurate and reliable emissions accounting, particularly in complex supply chains and carbon offsetting markets. By leveraging the decentralized and immutable nature of blockchain, it enhances trust and accountability in emission reduction efforts.

Impact on climate action

Blockchain for Emission Tracking and Verification enhances climate action by creating transparent, immutable records of non-CO2 emissions, facilitating accurate monitoring and accountability. It fosters trust among stakeholders, promotes efficient emission reduction strategies, and incentivizes sustainable practices, driving significant progress towards mitigating climate change.


  • Blockchain: This decentralized ledger technology records transactions across a network of computers, making it secure and resistant to tampering. Each transaction is cryptographically secured and linked to previous transactions, creating an immutable record.
  • Smart Contracts: These self-executing contracts automate processes based on predefined rules, ensuring transparency and efficiency in emission tracking and verification.
  • Tokenization: Emissions reductions or carbon credits can be represented as digital tokens on a blockchain, allowing for secure and transparent trading and exchange.
  • Data Security and Privacy: Blockchain technology employs cryptography to protect emissions data from unauthorized access and manipulation, ensuring its integrity and reliability.

TRL : 5-7 (moving towards commercialization with several pilot projects and early implementations)

Prominent Innovation themes

  • Interoperable Blockchain Platforms: Creating interoperable platforms that connect different blockchain systems used by various organizations can facilitate seamless data exchange and enable a more comprehensive view of emissions across complex supply chains.
  • Integration with IoT Sensors: Integrating blockchain with Internet of Things (IoT) sensors can provide real-time and automated emissions data recording, eliminating manual data entry and reducing the risk of errors.
  • Decentralized Carbon Markets: Blockchain can enable peer-to-peer trading of carbon credits, bypassing intermediaries and reducing transaction costs, democratizing access to carbon markets.
  • Gamification and Incentives: Some platforms are using blockchain to create gamified systems that incentivize emission reduction efforts and reward individuals and organizations for their contributions to sustainability.

Other Innovation Subthemes

  • Decentralized Emission Data Ledger
  • Transparent Emission Verification Systems
  • Immutable Emission Tracking Solutions
  • Automated Emission Reporting Platforms
  • Secure Carbon Credit Tokenization
  • Real-time IoT Emission Monitoring
  • Peer-to-Peer Carbon Trading Platforms
  • Trustworthy Emission Reduction Records
  • Enhanced Supply Chain Emission Visibility
  • Efficient Emission Data Exchange
  • Cryptographically Secured Emission Records
  • Tamper-Resistant Emission Verification
  • Democratized Access to Carbon Markets

Sample Global Startups and Companies

  • ClimateTrade:
    • Technology Focus: ClimateTrade specializes in using blockchain technology for tracking and verifying carbon emissions and offsets. Their platform likely employs smart contracts and decentralized ledger technology to create transparency and trust in carbon markets.
    • Uniqueness: ClimateTrade may differentiate itself by offering a user-friendly interface and comprehensive solutions for businesses looking to measure, manage, and offset their carbon footprint. They might also provide real-time tracking and reporting capabilities for emission reduction projects.
    • End-User Segments: Their target segments could include corporations, governments, and organizations striving to meet sustainability goals, comply with regulations, or participate in voluntary carbon markets.
  • Nori:
    • Technology Focus: Nori is likely focused on building a marketplace for carbon removal credits using blockchain technology. Their platform may enable individuals and organizations to directly purchase carbon removal services from project developers, with transactions recorded transparently on the blockchain.
    • Uniqueness: Nori might stand out for its emphasis on carbon removal rather than just emissions reduction, offering a novel approach to addressing climate change. They may also prioritize projects with measurable and verifiable impacts, ensuring the credibility of carbon credits.
    • End-User Segments: Their target segments may include businesses, individuals, and governments seeking to offset their carbon footprint or invest in nature-based solutions for climate mitigation.
  • Open Climate:
    • Technology Focus: Open Climate is likely focused on creating an open and transparent ecosystem for carbon accounting and offsetting using blockchain technology. Their platform may integrate with existing carbon registries and standards to facilitate seamless tracking and verification of emissions and offsets.
    • Uniqueness: Open Climate might differentiate itself by promoting collaboration and interoperability within the carbon market ecosystem, fostering innovation and standardization. They may also prioritize data privacy and security, ensuring the integrity of emission data recorded on the blockchain.
    • End-User Segments: Their target segments could include carbon market participants, such as project developers, investors, and carbon credit buyers, as well as regulators and auditors seeking reliable emission data and verification methods.

Sample Research At Top-Tier Universities

  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT):
    • Technology Enhancements: MIT researchers are pioneering the integration of blockchain technology with emission tracking and verification systems to enhance transparency and accountability in emissions reduction efforts. They are developing decentralized ledger systems that securely record emissions data from various sources and enable real-time monitoring and verification.
    • Uniqueness of Research: MIT’s approach involves the use of smart contracts and cryptographic techniques to ensure the integrity and immutability of emission data recorded on the blockchain. By decentralizing the verification process, MIT aims to reduce the risk of fraud and manipulation while promoting trust among stakeholders.
    • End-use Applications: The research at MIT has broad applications across industries such as energy, transportation, and agriculture. By leveraging blockchain for emission tracking and verification, companies can streamline compliance reporting, facilitate emissions trading, and incentivize emissions reduction efforts through carbon offset projects.
  • University of Cambridge:
    • Technology Enhancements: Researchers at the University of Cambridge are exploring the potential of blockchain technology to track and verify non-CO2 emissions, such as methane and nitrous oxide, from agricultural activities. They are developing distributed ledger systems that enable farmers to accurately measure and report their emissions while ensuring data integrity and privacy.
    • Uniqueness of Research: The University of Cambridge’s research focuses on the intersection of blockchain, Internet of Things (IoT), and satellite imaging technologies to monitor emissions from agricultural practices in real time. By integrating these technologies, they aim to provide farmers with actionable insights to optimize their farming practices and reduce emissions.
    • End-use Applications: The research at the University of Cambridge has implications for sustainable agriculture, food security, and climate change mitigation. By empowering farmers with blockchain-enabled emission tracking tools, policymakers and agricultural stakeholders can develop targeted interventions and incentives to promote sustainable land management practices and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Stanford University:
    • Technology Enhancements: Stanford University researchers are developing blockchain-based platforms for tracking and verifying emissions from industrial processes and supply chains. They are leveraging distributed ledger technology to create transparent and auditable records of emissions data, from production to consumption, to identify hotspots and opportunities for emissions reduction.
    • Uniqueness of Research: Stanford’s approach involves the integration of blockchain with advanced data analytics and machine learning techniques to analyze large-scale emissions datasets and identify trends, patterns, and anomalies. By harnessing the power of big data, they aim to provide stakeholders with actionable insights to drive emissions reductions and promote sustainable development.
    • End-use Applications: The research at Stanford University has implications for various industries, including manufacturing, transportation, and logistics. By adopting blockchain-enabled emission tracking systems, companies can improve supply chain transparency, reduce reputational risks, and demonstrate their commitment to environmental stewardship to consumers and investors.

commercial_img Commercial Implementation

Several pilot projects and early implementations are showcasing the potential of blockchain for emission tracking and verification:

  • IBM Food Trust: This blockchain platform is used to track food products throughout the supply chain, enhancing transparency and reducing waste, indirectly contributing to emissions reduction.
  • Shell and Accenture: These companies are collaborating on a blockchain-based platform to track and trace carbon emissions from oil and gas production, improving transparency and enabling more accurate carbon accounting.