How Can Blockchain Strengthen the Marine Ecosystem
BSN LONG STORY SHORT SERIES EPISODE #7
This latest episode of BSN’s Long Story Short series invites Heidi Berg, Chief Marketing Officer at Waste2Wear, Alistair Douglas, Core Team member at Fishcoin and Founder of Eachmile Technologies, and Shaun Frankson, Co-founder and Chief Technology Officer at Plastic Bank to discuss the potential of Blockchain technology in revolutionizing marine ecosystem.
Implementation of Blockchain for the social good
Heidi Berg explains that to secure the feedstock and ensure transparency in the supply chain of turning plastic bottles into fabrics, Waste2Wear utilizes Blockchain to produce fabrics and apparel from the waste plastic bottles collected from the oceans. Alistair added that Eachmile Technologies intends to connect farmers and fishermen and capture data along fragmented supply chains to transform the worldwide fishery sector.
Shaun pinpointed that by transforming the world’s recycling infrastructure such as Indonesia, Philippines, and Brussels, “we’re not just focusing on enhancing supply chain but providing a complete tractability platform for a better life.” “To create IDs for the users they use Blockchain,” says Shaun.
What brought you to your industries, and what makes you find the things you are doing important and meaningful?
According to Shaun, Plastic Bank, as an organization to make, a social impact, first looked for how plastic can be a business solution. Based on the research they found that so much of ocean plastics come from countries like Indonesia, the Philippines and Brussels because they do not have a proper waste management system, he added. As a result, they created Plastic Bank to extract value from ocean plastics to act responsibly and change the world’s vision towards plastic.
Heidi Berg being associated with the financial industry in the past became aware of Blockchain and was amazed by its use in the supply chain. She worked with Impact Investment in Africa, India and Bangladesh and according to her ‘working with Impact is fantastic’. Her inspiration to join Waste2Wear comes from the pollution created in the textile industry from fabrics’ polyester and then plastic bottles, and using such waste as an input for the textile industry is great, she further added. “In this way, Waste2Wear creates value for global brands by creating high-value products from recycled plastics with the help of Blockchain technology,” says Berg.
Alistair provided that he fell in love with the oceans and studied marine science, fisheries, aquaculture, and realized the terrible condition of fisheries, and there is a lot of pressure of fisheries population on the environment. He researched Tuna during his Ph.D. and realized the importance of tractability and sustainability of fisheries. As a result, he came up with the idea of using Blockchain to resolve this issue for the world’s most traded food commodity.
What makes your companies competitive and unique against your competitors in the same space?
ESG Reporting, environmental awareness are the key reasons that companies are becoming aware of sustainability issues, according to Berg. She provided that customers in the USA, Europe demand sustainable clothes, and due to this demand Waste2Wear’s Blockchain system aims to offer irrefutable proof that Waste2Wear® materials are created entirely of plastic waste, with no subcontracting. An environmental impact report is included with every product; that is what makes the company unique as many companies cannot provide the same evidence.
Shaun addressed the points by agreeing to the fact that consumers are becoming environmentally aware. However, the challenge was to convince the customers that social plastic exists until competitors starting to enter the market to validate the idea. “Plastic Bank’s unique proposition lies in the fact that it focuses on serving the demand of social plastic without comprising the social impact and relies on creating a trusted supply chain,” he further added.
Alistair noted that as return on investment is the critical issue for the farmers, Eachmile Technologies offer the system for free to the farmers and reward them with fish coins in return for providing the data, and no competitor is doing this kind of work yet. The interesting fact was that he really cared about paying taxes to provide benefits to the farmers.
What’s your strategy to convince clients to use your products/services?
“Sourcing and marketing departments have different perspectives in the textile industry”, Berg added. The QR codes, information about where the product comes from even how the bottle is transformed to a high-quality fabric are some of the key points that she put forward while marketing Pastic2Wear’s products. Most of the customers of the company are from Europe because of the business model to produce in China and sell in Europe, she further added. Moreover, environmental concerns are on the rise in China compared to recycling products being deemed as downgraded, so there seems to be a great market for the company’s products, according to Berg.
Shaun said, “for Plastic Bank, what matters is to partner with the companies, where the staff can tell their kids what they are working on”. Audibility and authenticity are the fundamental principles that Plastic Bank really focuses on, continues Shaun. Using IBM’s Blockchain, Plastic Bank aims to solve the key pain point of truth i.e., how they provide the products, where they come from, he says.
On the contrary, Waste2Wear uses own Blockchain system to collect real-time data on the amount of plastic required in order for the production to take place, Berg added.
According to Alistair, “Platform’s efficiency, quality, consistency, sustainability, responsibility can help transform the fisheries industry”. Eachmile Technologies’ platform was initially built on Ethereum and later moved to Stella platform due to Ethereum’s cost of the transaction fee, he says. He further added that demonstrating the worth of the product to the customers is what Eachmile Technologies use in their market development approach.
How are you increasing the systems’ interoperability element? Can you share some specific policies or support from governments?
Alistair mentioned that Eachmile Technologies provides opportunities to young developers and students through hackathons and has partnered with Mauritius’s government to expand further.
Shaun shared Plastic Bank’s perspective of partnering with local digital wallet providers to extract value for the users. “Providing true value to the customers that they actually desire is the key focus of Plastic Bank,” Shaun further emphasized.
Berg added that it might be beneficial to partner with the Norwich government for a fisheries kind of business model as Norway has the most extensive coastline. In China, Beijing is quite optimistic about environmentally responsible companies like Waste2Wear, she further added. She also shared that she is pretty optimistic about getting support from the government due to increasing competition in this space.