The aim of the new initiative is to test, design and deploy a blockchain solution to make responsible sourcing easier and to boost sustainability practices.
The founding member companies include Antofagasta Minerals, Eurasian Resources Group, Glencore, Klöckner & Co, Minsur, Tata Steel, and AngloAmerican/De Beers – in the form of its pilot blockchain platform Tracr.
The group of companies is looking to develop joint proof-of-concepts for an inclusive blockchain platform.
“Over time, this could help the industry collectively increase transparency, efficiency or improve reporting of carbon emissions,” a statement from the World Economic Forum said.
Jörgen Sandström, head of the mining and metals industry, World Economic Forum, believes that material value chains are facing disruption.
“The industry needs to respond to the increasing demands of minerals and materials while responding to increasing demands by consumers, shareholders and regulators for a higher degree of sustainability and traceability of the products,” he said.
The group also views some blockchain projects as being too bilateral and fractured to offer proper interoperability and support for responsible sourcing.
The initiative will examine issues related to governance, develop case studies and establish a working group. Key areas of collaboration and development could include carbon emissions tracking and supply chain transparency.
The World Economic Forum said they will “use blockchain technology to increase trust between upstream and downstream partners, to address the lack of industry standardisation and to track provenance, chain of custody and production methods”.
The organisation itself will be providing guidance on governance issues related to the delivery of a neutral industry platform and the expansion of members.
Antofagasta Minerals CEO Ivan Arriagada said: “We hope this collaboration and pilot will give us practical examples of how blockchain can increase efficiency of the supply chain management and improve interoperability; address certain supply chain management risks such as transparency and consumer trust; and unlock opportunities including integration of key data such on environmental impact such carbon emissions.”
According to a Deloitte Global Blockchain survey published in May, the majority (92%) of respondents said they either belong to a blockchain consortium or plan to join one in the next 12 months.