OECD Global Blockchain Policy Forum

Panel: ESG for the Ecosystem: Sustainability and responsible business conduct in public blockchains

Sep 22, 2021 | 1:45 PM - 3:00 PM


Public, unpermissioned blockchains have created vast decentralised networks spanning across nations on which a range of digital goods and services are now being delivered. The value created over these networks, estimated at over USD $2 trillion, has also created a fiercely competitive business environment to secure the digital assets awarded to actors hosting, verifying and supporting activities on the blockchain. With activities spread over jurisdictions with inconsistent – and sometimes weak or fragile – regulatory, legal, and institutional frameworks, there are growing concerns among industry participants and public bodies about sustainability and business conduct risks across some blockchain value chains. Commentary has focussed largely on potential environmental impacts, notably the energy consumption of prominent networks like Bitcoin and Ethereum, but there are wider social and governance considerations. While network participants should seek foremost to “do no harm”, there may also be opportunities to actively work towards positive social impact. This session seeks to understand how Responsible Business Conduct principles can be applied in public blockchains, by mapping out the ecosystem of public blockchains, and identifying specific risks within operations, key actors in the supply chain for digital assets, and responsibility for due diligence and disclosure. It looks to connect this nascent conversation in the blockchain industry with experiences in other sectors, and highlight options for strengthening market integrity going forward.

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