Jaguar Land Rover trials digital supply chain technology for leather products

Blockchain technology uses GPS, biometrics and QR codes.

JLR blockchain
JLR blockchain

Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) has trialled blockchain technology as a way of creating a transparent supply chain for leather.

JLR has collaborated with supply chain traceability provider Circulor, UK-based Bridge of Weir Leather Company and the University of Nottingham to trial the technology, which increases traceability across the entire leather supply chain.

As well as tracking compliance, the technology can also allow JLR to monitor the carbon footprint of its leather supply network, tracking its lowest-carbon leather from farm to finished product. Essentially, the system creates a ‘digital twin’ of the raw material which can then be tracked across the entire supply chain simultaneously in the real world and the digital. GPS data, biometrics and QR codes all verify and track the movement of the leather.

It’s all part of JLR’s ‘Reimagine’ strategy, which aims to achieve net zero carbon emissions across the firm’s entire supply chain, products and operations by 2039.

Dave Owen, Jaguar Land Rover 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.”

In addition to traditional leather, JLR is also starting to offer customers more sustainable material choices, such as a natural fibre textile made from eucalyptus which is used on the current Range Rover Evoque and Kvadrat, a wool blend textile which is coupled with a suede cloth trim made from recycled plastic bottles. It’s available on the Evoque, as well as the Range Rover Velar and the Jaguar I-Pace.

Dr Warren Bowden, Innovation and Sustainability Director of Scottish Leather Group, said “In partnership with Jaguar Land Rover and the University of Nottingham, we believe there is a clear opportunity to implement blockchain technology to enhance the existing, world-leading standards of traceability and transparency that exist within UK agriculture and its Cattle Tracing Scheme.

“At Bridge of Weir, we see the potential to create carbon-positive leather – if we source from local farms where the livestock is grass fed, where there is no deforestation, and we couple this responsible approach to sourcing with ongoing innovation to create zero carbon and zero waste manufacturing processes. The blockchain technology developed in this trial will enable each stage in the process, and the entire leather supply chain, to be accurately tracked and measured.”

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