Circularise has announced a joint project with ISCC, bringing together material suppliers, original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), brands, and trading companies to test a public, blockchain-based digital system, with the aim of supporting transparency and data integrity for mass balance certification.

The scheme includes material suppliers Neste, Asahi Kasei, Borealis, Trinseo, and Shell; OEMs and brands Arcelik, Philips Domestic Appliances and EVBox; and trading companies Marubeni and Itochu. According to Circularise, this is the first time 10 chemical industry players and appliance companies have collaborated to test blockchain-based digital systems as a complement to the certification process for mass balance.

Circularise explains that certification schemes can enable a mass balance system, facilitating the gradual switch towards the replacement of fossil feedstocks with renewable and recycled raw materials while enabling the use of existing infrastructure and equipment instead of constructing parallel plants and value chains. In the mass balance system, data storage and data integrity are key elements in verifying sustainability and compliance with the certification requirements.

Circularise says its block-chain based digital system was tested with the ISCC Plus certification to make the auditing of certified parties more efficient, and to strengthen the integrity of certified data. Participants reportedly utilised a public blockchain enabling authentication, decentralisation, and encryption of data verifying material flows and related sustainability attributes.

According to Circularise, this approach differs from other blockchain projects where companies use a private blockchain operated by pre-selected participants, such as members of a consortium. Circularise adds that using a public blockchain makes it virtually impossible for companies to appear more sustainable than they really are by reusing the proof of a sustainability claim across assets, forming the foundation of trust in data integrity.

As part of the project, material traceability and verification of data across the value chain were guaranteed by ISCC Plus certification, Circularise claims. This apparently required site-specific audits, certification, and mass balance calculations to provide reassurance about the renewable or recycled content, with Circularise adding that the data was uploaded to its software system to improve mass balance bookkeeping and reporting.

Mesbah Sabur, founder of Circularise, explains: “Blockchain technology is revolutionising how data is stored and shared. Now companies don’t need to individually keep a balance of goods and transactions in excel. Instead, they can use blockchain and smart contracts to store balances, record transactions, and apply mass balance rules. Every transaction is fully traceable. Auditors can therefore rely on the blockchain for parts of the audit.

“We are excited to bring our knowledge in supply chain traceability and data management to project partners to test a public decentralised blockchain with the ISCC Plus certification.”

Isabella Tonaco, vice president of strategy execution & marketing from Neste’s Renewable Polymers and Chemicals business unit, adds: “To make sustainability a shared benefit to society, transparency along complex value chains is required. This is currently not easily available.

“Our goal in this project led by ISCC, Circularise and forerunner companies is to enable complex value chains to learn and take full advantage of innovative digital solutions, aiming to efficiently share data and validate sustainability characteristics of their products. Transparent product sustainability attributes will benefit industry, consumers and society.”

Jan Henke from ISCC comments: “Certification will become more digital in the future. It will allow certification schemes to simplify the auditing process of supply chain actors and reduce the risk of mistakes. Companies will have an easier way to show compliance and adhere to auditing rules.”

Through this project, Circularise claims that the collaborating partners managed to deepen their knowledge of mass balance systems, align internal processes with ISCC Plus requirements, and test a new futureproof way for bookkeeping mass balance credits while easily sharing them across organisations. Overall, the project apparently allowed value chain actors to better substantiate sustainability claims and improve collaboration.

Earlier this year, SABIC established a consortium blockchain project aimed at creating additional transparency and digital traceability for its TRUCIRCLE feedstock solutions. Meanwhile, Circulor partnered with TotalEnergies and Recycling Technologies to develop a blockchain-enabled traceability solution for hard-to-recycle plastics.