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Luxury car manufacturer Mercedes Benz has partnered with blockchain startup Circulor on a pilot aimed at tracing CO2 emissions in the cobalt supply chain, the company said in a press release on 30 January.

According to the announcement, the pilot comes as a result of Mercedes’ ambition to create a new carbon neutral passenger car fleet in the next 20 years, and is part of Daimler’s Startup Autobahn initiative, which aimes to identify the next-generation automobiles. Circulor and Mercedes will use blockchain to track the emissions of climate-relevant gases, and the amount of recycled materials, along the battery cell manufacturer’s supply chain.

Initially the project will focus on cobalt, a key material in making lithium-ion batteries, which enters the supply chain from recycling facilities. Through the use of blockchain technology, the companies will map the production flow of the materials, and its carbon emissions, and record the amount of recycled materials used in the supply chain.

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The blockchain-based pilot will also monitor if all involved companies meet the sustainability requirements of Daimler AG, Mercedes’ parent company, such as working conditions, human rights, environmental protection, safety, business ethics and compliance, are being met by all involved companies.

Markus Schäfer, member of the Board of Management of Daimler and Mercedes, said in a statement:

“It is our aspiration to make all processes transparent and traceable. We are the first manufacturer to use blockchain technology to map CO2 emissions in the global battery cell supply chain. In doing so, we are laying the cornerstone for effective improvements – for the environment and for our businesses.”

The automobile sector has been one of the bigger industries to look into the potential of blockchain technology. Last year in September, Daimler AG and engineering firm and parts builder Dürr AG conducted a pilot blockchain transaction on R3’s Marco Polo trade network.

A month later, BMW, General Motors, Ford, Renault and Honda announced that they are working with the Mobility Open Blockchain Initiative (MOBI) to integrate a blockchain system, which will assign digital IDs to cars, linked to ownership, service history and wallet.

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