Meet the partner: James Veale from GreenToken by SAP

James Veale is cofounder of GreenToken by SAP. He has had a 30-year career in commodities or raw materials, especially around the trading of raw materials. In 2020, he cofounded GreenToken with funds from SAP – the big German IT/ERP company. 

Can you shortly introduce your role in the INCREACE project?

GreenToken is a raw material supply chain transparency and tracking tool. GreenToken’s role is to provide a cloud software system that proves beyond doubt that new plastic material is circular, i.e. recycled from old plastic waste, and identifies interesting attributes such as waste origin, supply chain partners, % of circular content and other facts that prove that it is recycled material and not from virgin raw sources.

How did GreenToken by SAP get involved in the INCREACE project?

With the support of SAP and both being well known German companies who had worked together before, SAP introduced GreenToken to Fraunhofer, which led to many conversations between GreenToken and the members involved in INCREACE. We found that our GreenToken solution was a great fit for some of the requirements, especially around providing traceability and transparency of the material from waste collection to end recycled circular product. We were part of the successful bid consortium, and the rest is history!

How do you see the added value of INCREACE for GreenToken by SAP?

GreenToken for circular plastic has already been proved to work, tracking the chain of custody from waste plastic origin to new circular plastic many times with companies like BASF, Eastman Chemicals and Mitsubishi Chemicals Europe. However, what is clear is that there is a lack of EU legislation and standards that require recycled circular material to have a verifiable story to prove that the material is truly circular. We know this legislation is coming via the EU Green Deal and also through initiatives like EPR – End Producer Responsibility. It’s great to be part of an EU funded initiative that demonstrates what is available today in a real world supply chain with blue chip European brands and leading European recycling companies.

What is the role of GreenToken by SAP in the INCREACE project?

The problem with plastic waste is that you can’t label every individual piece with a bar code or QR code – like you would with a shampoo bottle or soda can. Therefore, it’s very hard to figure out where the plastic waste came from and how it is being recycled. GreenToken solved this problem by making a digital twin virtual token (the GreenToken) that has lots of interesting information about the plastic waste (where was it collected, what kind of plastic is it, which company is responsible). We do this at the micro level – each token represent 1g of waste material. Now, wherever the waste goes or however it gets recycled, we update all the tokens that represent the material. For example, I recycled 1kg of material to a new material, then I update the 1000 unique tokens that represent that material on the GreenToken blockchain. At the end of process, we end up with new recycled circular material and a chain of custody record on our blockchain of where it came from, how it was recycled, who was involved and other interesting facts such as its overall carbon footprint. In this way, we gain complete transparency into the recycling process of any plastic waste and we allow a company or a brand to make verifiable claims about their recycling commitment.

What do you hope to achieve by the end of the project?

I’d love to see the work that INCREACE does lead to new EU wide legislation that encourages global companies not only to make use of circular recycled material in their plastic products, but also asks those companies to show why they are making the circular claim. Even today, only 8% of plastic waste is recycled, the remaining 92% goes to landfill, is burnt or ends up in the oceans. If a company had an increasing target of recycled target, say 10% going to 75% over a decade, and a tool to easily measure and verify that percentage, then that there would be huge demand to recycle that wasted 92%!

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Get in touch

For more info about the INCREACE project, please feel free to get in touch with us.

    Get in touch

    Projectcoordinators

    Theresa Marie Aigner & Ronja Scholz

    Fraunhofer Institute for for Reliability and Microintegration IZM

    Gustav-Meyer-Allee 25

    13355 Berlin, Germany