By Charles King, Pund-IT® January 13, 2021
Beyond commercial demand the price of goods often has an historical or cultural basis, like the value attributed to precious gems and minerals, fine art and famous jewelry. However, establishing and maintaining the value of unique technologies or substances is a more challenging task, especially in markets where stealing intellectual property and counterfeiting luxury goods are commonplace.
In circumstances like this, what can makers of these goods and their customers do to protect their investments? One example was highlighted this week when fashion brand Covalent is using IBM Blockchain on IBM LinuxONE to track the carbon footprint of the fashion accessories it manufactures. Let’s consider why Covalent and IBM are working together and what their effort means for other companies.
What is Covalent? Covalent manufactures fashion accessories, including sunglasses, handbags and wallets using a new biomaterial called AirCarbon developed by Covalent’s parent company, Newlight Technologies. A biological carbon capture process involving ocean microorganisms is used to create AirCarbon which can be used as an alternative to plastic and leather. AirCarbon is certified as carbon-negative by the Carbon Trust, meaning it results in a net reduction in the amount of carbon dioxide in the air, thus impacting global warming and related environmental issues.
Along with being in a new category of “regenerative” products positively impacting greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, each Covalent product is fully traceable via a 12-digit “Carbon Date” that can be used to show the steps in its production process, as well as its third party-verified carbon impact. That number can be entered into Covalent’s website to track the steps that went into creating a product and readying it for sale.
Given the significant public interest in reducing GHGs and consumers’ enthusiasm for product traceability (an IBM Institute for Business Value study found 53% of consumers would pay a premium for items that are reliably traceable), AirCarbon products could be targeted by fashion counterfeiters and knock-off scammers. In order to prevent such scams, Covalent engaged IBM Business Partner, Cognition Foundry, a services provider and systems integrator to store “Carbon Date” information in an IBM Blockchain solution hosted on IBM LinuxONE.
Why IBM Blockchain and LinuxONE? The ability of blockchain to securely store and manage an immutable record is well-aligned with Covalent’s desire to maximally protect Carbon Date information, along with its AirCarbon brand. Plus, by hosting its IBM Blockchain solution on IBM LinuxONE, Covalent can benefit from the platform’s notable scalability and resiliency as well as features, including the industry’s first and only FIPS 140-2 Level 4 certified Hardware Security Module (HSM).
Covalent is obviously not the only organization benefitting from blockchain solutions. In fact, when you combine IBM’s LinuxONE and IBM Cloud’s Hyper Protect Crypto Services, IBM Blockchain becomes a highly beneficial and secure solution for a wide variety of business services and processes.
More broadly, helping to protect Covalent’s unique AirCarbon products and brand highlights how IBM is successfully developing singular solutions that reflect the vitality of and demand for its IBM Z and LinuxONE offerings. By doing so IBM is meeting the business needs and emerging requirements of both existing and new enterprise customers.
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