Jaguar Land Rover has trialled the use of secure blockchain technology to ensure full transparency within a sustainable leather supply chain.
In the claimed world-first, Tata Motors’ JLR worked with supply chain traceability provider Circulor, UK leather manufacturer Bridge of Weir Leather Company and the University of Nottingham to trial the use of traceability technology in the leather supply chain.
As well as tracking compliance, the digital process enabled the automaker to assess the carbon footprint of its leather supply network, working with Bridge of Weir to trace its lowest carbon leather from farm to finished article.
As part of the Innovate UK-funded research, a ‘digital twin’ of the raw material was created, allowing its progress to be tracked through the leather supply chain simultaneously in the real world and digitally. A combination of GPS data, biometrics and QR codes was used to digitally verify the movement of leather at every step of the process using blockchain technology.
Defining the verification process has created a repeatable blueprint for tracing a single piece of leather at every stage. It can be used across the automaker’s global supply chain and by other industries that rely on leather, such as fashion and footwear.
The project is part of Jaguar Land Rover’s Reimagine strategy which aims to achieve net zero carbon emissions across its supply chain, products and operations by 2039.
Dave Owen, JLR executive director of supply chain, said: “We are currently restructuring our supply chain as part of Reimagine, with a focus on transparency and sustainability. The outcome from this world-first trial will allow us to further improve the sustainability of the leather supply chain around the globe, ensuring the complete traceability of raw materials from origin to vehicle.
“This is one step in our journey to net zero carbon emissions across our supply chain, products and operations by 2039, enabled by leading edge digital capabilities.”
Through InMotion, its venture capital and mobility services arm, JLR previously announced an investment in Circulor, allowing the company to source premium materials with greater transparency as to the provenance, welfare, and compliance of suppliers throughout its networks.
The technology could be deployed to trace other commodities. Circulor is already using blockchain to improve the traceability of minerals used for electric vehicle batteries. Blockchain technology is impossible to modify or tamper with, giving customers greater confidence that the sustainable supply chain is authentic, and all materials have been sustainably sourced.