Blockchains for sustainability


Recent advancements in information technologies are affording new possibilities for collecting and managing data on a range of sustainability issues - including decentralised energy production, carbon emissions, pollution levels, and even sophisticated metrics for resilience to the impacts of climate change. It is essential to consider the ways in which these technologies are deployed - by whom, for whom, through which institutional arrangements - to ensure that sustainability interventions and policies achieve inclusiveness rather than simply technocratic governance in the interests of a few powerful actors.

This project is built a network of experts, researchers, and citizens to co-create inclusive pathways to sustainability; by creating opportunities for technologies to be accessible and useful to communities of citizens, using blockchain technologies to facilitate more inclusive institutions, and creating civic institutions capable of unlocking the transformative potential of new technologies.

  • Sustainable Development Goals

    This project examined the following SDGs:

    SDG 6 – Clean Water and Sanitation
    SDG 7 – Affordable and Clean Energy
    SDG 10 – Reduced Inequalities
    SDG 11 – Sustainable Cities and Communities
    SDG 13  Climate Action
    SDG 17  Partnerships for the Goals

    Find out more about the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

Project description

The first main achievement of this project has been to articulate the major technological innovations of blockchain in an accessible way and to compile opportunities for their application to issues of sustainability. Additionally, this project has fed into an ongoing research project, funded by the EU, to make 'smart cities' in India more inclusive.

The first phase of this project concluded with a consultation with SPARC - an NGO based in India that coordinates with national federations of informal settlement residents. This consultation gathered insights from the grassroots on the opportunities and challenges of using technologies to strengthen local capacities to gather and analyse data as well as to shape data-driven solutions to local problems through the multiple levels of policy. We are currently seeking opportunities to put these insights into practice by working closely with local groups of organised citizens - especially those from marginalised groups or communities.

The current phase of the project centres on the formation of a network - centred at the University of Sussex but extending across universities, industries, and citizens groups in the UK and abroad - to advance an understanding of and capacities for the use of blockchain technology for sustainability. To initiate this network, a workshop event was held in the summer of 2018, that will brought together a diverse group of participants to strengthen our technical understanding of blockchain and to discuss how to take forward a 'blockchain for sustainability' agenda.

Timeline and funding


April 2017-September 2017



The team

Where we worked