Commentary: Blockchain cannot guarantee fairer mineral sourcing practices without robust supply chain due diligence

Author: Carly Oboth, Global Witness, Published on: 21 September 2018

"What does blockchain mean for the future of responsible mineral sourcing?" 21 September 2018

More and more proponents claim that blockchain is the future of data transparency. New initiatives using blockchain...promise to provide end-user companies that are many steps removed from mines and trading hubs with reliable, transparent information about where the minerals they use have come from. [While] there may be ways to design applications using blockchain that effectively capture and manage the type of detailed, qualitative information needed to enrich companies’ risk assessments, until these tools are fully developed, there is no replacement for communicating with suppliers to attain the detailed and specific information needed to effectively manage risks... Any application of blockchain focused solely on traceability will allow abuses and exploitation at the bottom of some supply chains to go unchecked... Supply chain due diligence – the tools companies use, the policies they put in place, and the practices they adopt - must always be oriented towards changing trading behaviors so that they improve circumstances for those in producing countries and mining communities.  Blockchain might be one of many means that helps towards this end, but it is not the end in itself.

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