Announcing techUK's November Blockchain Leader
The purpose of techUK's Blockchain Leader of the month campaign is to showcase tech leaders that are playing a crucial role in driving forward the development of emerging enterprise solutions that can establish trust, help organisations with adoption and bring to life use cases across sectors.
This is also an opportunity to learn from those working in Blockchain about the latest developments and trends in this exciting, emerging and potentially transformative technology.
You can read techUK's full interview with Veera below:
- What are your current responsibilities in your role and what does a typical day involve?
Veera Johnson, co-founder of Circulor, a rapidly growing UK founded global technology business, that enables industries to build a truly sustainable future – and prove it. As co-founder, I’m fortunate enough to be involved in many aspects of the company, including supporting our customers with the specific supply change challenges they’re facing, working with a variety of partners and memberships we’re a part of, and growing our team in the UK, EU and the US.
- What do you most enjoy about your work?
Climate change is a global challenge and we’re at a tipping point. Unless we are able to slow the pace of change, rising temperatures will have a catastrophic impact on our planet.
That’s why we started Circulor and why I came out of retirement. I believe whole heartedly that we can support companies in becoming more sustainable and I see everyday the progress we’re making to achieving our mission to make the world’s most complex supply chains more transparent and help prevent the exploitation of people and our planet – I want to make the world a better place for my grandchildren.
- Why is Blockchain so important to UK right now and what does the future hold for adoption and maturity of Blockchain in the UK?
The applications of blockchain continue to evolve as more complementary technologies emerge. For me one of the most exciting potentials of blockchain is in supporting companies to increase their supply chain sustainability so they to prove responsible sourcing and recycling, and to reduce their emissions across the whole supply chain.
In order to do this, it is critical for organisations to better understand the provenance of materials right from material source, through to manufacturing and to the end -product across their entire supply chain. Digitising supply chains through implementing traceability platforms provides this deep understanding and enables organisations to make better informed sourcing and manufacturing decisions, as well as enabling them to prove responsible sourcing of materials and help to build resilient supply chains. The key principle here is that ‘“if you don’t know about what is truly happening in your supply chain then you can’t make changes that are going to be impactful”.
The future looks promising. At Circulor we’re seeing first-hand this drive to solve our climate issues, and the support has never been so diverse — it’s coming from customers, investors, businesses, regulators, in clear ways. We can use this unifying force to advance solutions like blockchain and make meaningful change.
- What industries or sectors of the UK economy do you think could benefits from adopting and using Blockchain technology and why?
I see the biggest potential in helping to build a ‘circular economy’ of products and materials, beyond their first use, which applies to many industries including automotive, construction and consumer electronics to name a few we’re already working with.
In this circular economy the economic models need to focus on reuse, repair, remanufacturing and recycling practices across entire value chains. This Circular economy must also be primarily aimed at reducing carbon emissions, waste and resource extraction, but clearly this will come with a price premium, with the cost of recycling being priced into the end recycled product.
It is only in the last twelve months that economies have properly started to focus on the need for recycling and building a circular economy, particularly in the battery and other ‘critical’ materials and broader energy transition spaces, where there is an increasing focus on re-use and then extracting the raw materials at end of life through effective re-cycling.
- What do you think is the key challenges, issue or barriers that needs to be broken down if we are to make the UK Blockchain ready?
I think London and the UK’s leadership in tech for good has been known and irrefutable for a while now. Europe as a region is leading the focus on how we solve our global climate issues and the UK is the hub of that energy and momentum.
With all the blockchain expertise in the UK, I would like to see these shared globally and influence higher standards for what can be done. We must educate and advocate for our innovations that make business and our world and our climate better—we must raise the bar and show what’s possible.
- How can the Blockchain industry and market equip organisations with the understanding, skills and knowledge to make the right Blockchain decisions for now and for the future? Do we have everything we need?
Climate change and ESG is high on the UKs agenda and therefore government should continue to invest in technologies which enables these and develop legislation and policy that creates consistency of ESG standards that are common across suppliers will support them in working towards the collective goal of achieving net-zero.
More clarity is also required on low-carbon alternatives for supply chain participants, including how to make informed decisions on low carbon routes through the upstream supply chain.
- What is your prediction for how Blockchain and DLT Technologies will change the way organisations operate in 2021 and beyond?
The digitalisation of supply chains, through blockchain solutions like Circulor, means data and insights are becoming available which have never existed before, and these can provide regulatory compliance and resource security. However, there needs to be a faster ramp of capturing this data, aggregating it and using it to empower more action through blockchain and complementary emerging technologies.
I believe there will be a conscious integration of sustainability goals and objectives within organisations with supply chain management such that ESG benefits, which have largely been incidental to date are intentional. However, businesses need guidance and support on how to achieve this.
Laura is techUK’s Head of Programme for Technology and Innovation.
She supports the application and expansion of emerging technologies across business, including Geospatial Data, Quantum Computing, AR/VR/XR and Edge technologies.
Before joining techUK, Laura worked internationally in London, Singapore and across the United States as a conference researcher and producer covering enterprise adoption of emerging technologies. This included being part of the strategic team at London Tech Week.
Laura has a degree in History (BA Hons) from Durham University, focussing on regional social history. Outside of work she loves reading, travelling and supporting rugby team St. Helens, where she is from.
Sue leads techUK's Technology and Innovation work.
This includes work programmes on cloud, data protection, data analytics, AI, digital ethics, Digital Identity and Internet of Things as well as emerging and transformative technologies and innovation policy. She has been recognised as one of the most influential people in UK tech by Computer Weekly's UKtech50 Longlist and in 2021 was inducted into the Computer Weekly Most Influential Women in UK Tech Hall of Fame. A key influencer in driving forward the data agenda in the UK Sue is co-chair of the UK government's National Data Strategy Forum. As well as being recognised in the UK's Big Data 100 and the Global Top 100 Data Visionaries for 2020 Sue has also been shortlisted for the Milton Keynes Women Leaders Awards and was a judge for the Loebner Prize in AI. In addition to being a regular industry speaker on issues including AI ethics, data protection and cyber security, Sue was recently a judge for the UK Tech 50 and is a regular judge of the annual UK Cloud Awards.
Prior to joining techUK in January 2015 Sue was responsible for Symantec's Government Relations in the UK and Ireland. She has spoken at events including the UK-China Internet Forum in Beijing, UN IGF and European RSA on issues ranging from data usage and privacy, cloud computing and online child safety. Before joining Symantec, Sue was senior policy advisor at the Confederation of British Industry (CBI). Sue has an BA degree on History and American Studies from Leeds University and a Masters Degree on International Relations and Diplomacy from the University of Birmingham. Sue is a keen sportswoman and in 2016 achieved a lifelong ambition to swim the English Channel.
Zoe is a Programme Assistant, supporting techUK's work across Policy, Technology and Innovation.
The team makes the tech case to government and policymakers in Westminster, Whitehall, Brussels and across the UK on the most pressing issues affecting this sector and supports the Technology and Innovation team in the application and expansion of emerging technologies across business, including Geospatial Data, Quantum Computing, AR/VR/XR and Edge technologies.
Before joining techUK, Zoe worked as a Business Development and Membership Coordinator at London First and prior to that Zoe worked in Partnerships at a number of Forex and CFD brokerage firms including Think Markets, ETX Capital and Central Markets.
Zoe has a degree (BA Hons) from the University of Westminster and in her spare time, Zoe enjoys travelling, painting, keeping fit and socialising with friends.