Seminar Series

Blockchain’s Roles in Enforcing Social and Environmental Sustainability Standards in Supply Chains in Developing Countries


Professor Nir Kshetri


University of North Carolina, Greensboro

Time & Place

Thu, 14 Jun 2018 11:30:00 NZST in Law 411

All are welcome


The objective of this study is to provide a theory for understanding blockchain’s roles in monitoring and enforcing sustainability standards in the developing world. Multiple case studies of blockchain projects to assess product quality, environmental accounting and social impact measurement are discussed. It gives an overview of economic, technical, institutional, inter-organizational and infrastructural challenges facing the developing world in promoting environmental sustainability and ethical business conduct. Using practical applications and real-world examples, the article looks at how blockchain’s key features—decentralization, immutability and cryptography-based authentication - can help address many of the challenges associated with implementing sustainability in supply chains. Consumers often grapple with ethical dilemmas such as the desire to buy sustainable products but inability to verify whether the sustainability-related claims are valid. In this regard, the article also describes how such dilemmas can be resolved by blockchain’s transparency. The article also highlights how blockchain could be a double-edged sword from the perspective of multinational corporations (MNCs). It allows MNCs to ensure that their suppliers comply with ethical and sustainability standards. It also forces them to engage in practices and develop systems that are more ethical and sustainable.


Nir Kshetri is Professor at University of North Carolina-Greensboro and a research fellow at Kobe University. He holds a PhD in Business Administration from the University of Rhode Island. He has authored eight books. His 2014 book, Global Entrepreneurship: Environment and Strategy (Routledge: New York) has been selected as an Outstanding Academic Title by Choice Magazine. He has published about 120 articles in various journals. Nir worked as a consultant for the Asian Development Bank during 2017-2018. He also participated as lead discussant at the Peer Review meeting of the UN’s Information Economy Report 2013 and 2015. Nir was the winner of 2016 Bryan School Senior Research Excellence Award. He is also a two-time winner of the Pacific Telecommunication Council’s Meheroo Jussawalla Research Paper Prize (2010 and 2008). Nir has been quoted/interviewed and/or his work has been featured by hundreds of media outlets worldwide such as Wall Street Journal, Foreign Policy, Scientific American, Bloomberg TV, CBS News, TV Mundo (Peru), ABF TV (Brazil), Fortune, Time, Christian Science Monitor, SF Gate, U.S. News & World Report, New Boston Post, Observer and Salon. In March 2018, he gave a TED Talk about the potential roles of cryptocurrencies in fighting poverty.