The startup Circulor uses blockchain technology to determine whether or not child labor was used in the manufacture of vehicles. Because a seal or certificate can be easily forged, but an entry in a public block grove cannot. The startup works with the giant companies Volvo and Total.
Cobalt, mica and blockchain
The venture branches of Volvo and Total invested in the startup to reduce the proportion of child labor in the manufacture of auto parts. Before investing, Volvo tested Circulor’s technology for a year. With the help of blockchain technology, the cobalt, which is used to manufacture car batteries, was traced. In Africa it is often children who break down the important material. The situation is similar with mica. This material is used to insulate the battery packs. Mica is mined in Madagascar, among others. The children work under terrible working conditions.
Private blockchain against public ledgers
The startup is also expected to track the carbon footprint of the manufacturing chain. Electric cars use more CO2 in their manufacture, the materials used and the raw materials mined than ordinary cars. By tracing, manufacturers should take the sustainability of raw materials more into account. Initially, it was planned to trace the raw materials back on the Ethereum blockchain. However, the startup has now switched from the public blockchain to the private hyperledger fabric. One of the reasons for this was the prejudice which companies have against public blockchains.