The Sustainability Imperative

As organizations struggle to define a strategy that balances purpose and profit, opportunities are increasingly emerging to take the lead in sustainability initiatives. Front-line advances in areas such as net-zero emissions, AI-powered solutions for the underserved, precision agriculture, digital healthcare, and more are delivering business benefits, while simultaneously contributing to the realization of the UN’s 17 SDGs. We provide the expert thinking, debate, and guidance to help your organization reposition and transform in the era of sustainability.

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Cutter Expert Simon J.D. Schillebeeckx and Marco Schletz dive deep into the field of ReFi, a concept that enhances financial practices through decentralization and focuses on environmental and societal systems. The authors highlight several key problems of the space and point out that genuinely disruptive ReFi models are still in their infancy. The good news is that ReFi’s potentials are manifold and exciting. In the not-too-distant future, we might see financial applications backed by blockchain that can enhance data credibility, exchangeability, and transparency to redefine how corporations create and apportion environmental value.
In this issue of Amplify, we delve into the intricate connections between blockchain technologies and sustainability, highlighting how transparency, traceability, and decentralization can empower individuals, organizations, and governments to address pressing sustainability issues, from energy grids and sustainable forestry to agri-food ecosystems and regenerative finance. As we explore this dynamic development, it becomes evident that blockchain is not merely a technological innovation: it can serve as a catalyst for transformative change that aligns with the global imperative to create a more sustainable and equitable world.
This article presents an interview with Michael Marus, conducted by Cutter Expert Curt Hall and me. Marus is CIO and director of IT at the Forest Stewardship Council, an organization governed by a global network of more than 1,000 individuals and member organizations with the mission to protect forests worldwide. It has been testing and applying blockchain since 2021 to enable sustainability with forest-based materials and has found that blockchain’s traceability helps it achieve integrity and credibility for its certification system. Marus provides exciting details about the organization’s practical experiences and offers his outlook on how blockchain might provide further value in the future.
Malni Kumarathunga and Athula Ginige address the important topic of sustainable agri-food ecosystems, an issue that affects all of us. The amount of global food waste is alarming and, not surprisingly, has a huge detrimental impact on natural resources. Blockchain can enhance trust along the supply chain and improve the situation, especially for smallholder farmers. The authors’ suggested model simultaneously reduces greenhouse gas emissions, allows for better resource use, and improves the livelihood of farmers.
Horst Treiblmaier elaborates on the complex concepts of blockchain and sustainability, both of which are comprehensive and frequently misunderstood. He illustrates how the technology offers a multitude of capabilities (e.g., immutability of data, shared access, programmability, security) that can yield numerous beneficial outcomes for sustainability efforts.
Ali Arabnya and Amin Khodaei explore blockchain’s potential to create the sustainable energy grid of the future. One of the defining features of the technology is decentralization, which perfectly matches with the idea of distributing the production, trading, and consumption of energy. This transition is going to be complex, and the authors do an excellent job of outlining what needs to be done and which challenges need to be overcome to produce more robust and efficient energy systems.
Last year, we conducted six focus groups, each containing seven participants and a moderator, to discuss topics related to just business behavior by the largest public corporations in America. Participants said that honest, transparent disclosures affect how positively or negatively consumers and shareholders value the company. This Advisor takes a closer look at the issue of corporate transparency.
Scope 3 sources (GHGs produced by external suppliers and customer activities) represent the largest opportunity to lower emissions, making up at least 70% of overall emissions for most industries. As such, companies that are serious about minimizing their carbon footprint must focus strongly on Scope 3.