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Jaguar Land Rover is testing the use of secure blockchain technology to ensure full transparency within a leather supply chain.

Jaguar Land Rover partnered with supply chain traceability provider Circulor, a 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.

Apart from tracking compliance, the digital process enabled Jaguar Land Rover to assess the carbon footprint of its leather supply network. It uses the tech to trace its lowest carbon leather from farm to finished article.

Jaguar Land Rover plans to offer more sustainable materials such as Kvadrat – a refined high-quality wool blend textile that's paired with a suede cloth made from 53 recycled plastic bottles per vehicle. This will be available on Jaguar’s all-electric I-PACE.

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.

According to a statement by JLR, defining the verification process has created a repeatable blueprint for tracing a single piece of leather at every stage. It can be used across Jaguar Land Rover’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. Reimagine aims to achieve net zero carbon emissions across its supply chain, products and operations by 2039. Jaguar Land Rover claims that it will work with industry experts to improve sustainability, reduce emissions and collaborate on next-generation technology, data and software development leadership.

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."

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