Jaguar Land Rover trials world-first digital supply chain for leather using blockchain technology
13 October 2021
Jaguar Land Rover has trialled the use of secure blockchain technology to ensure full transparency within a sustainable leather supply chain.
In a world-first, Jaguar Land Rover partnered with supply chain traceability provider Circulor, leading 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 Jaguar Land Rover to assess the carbon footprint of its leather supply network, working with UK-based Bridge of Weir Leather Company to trace its lowest carbon leather from farm to finished article – all part of Jaguar Land Rover’s commitment to reducing the environmental and ethical impact of its products across their lifecycle.
Jaguar Land Rover is committed to offering customers more sustainable and responsible material choices for their vehicle interiors, such as the premium natural fibre Eucalyptus textile interior available on Range Rover Evoque, and Kvadrat – a refined high-quality wool blend textile that's paired with a suede cloth made from 53 recycled plastic bottles per vehicle – available on Evoque, Range Rover Velar and 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.
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: a sustainability-rich combination of modern luxury, unique customer experiences, and positive societal impact. Reimagine aims to achieve net zero carbon emissions across its supply chain, products and operations by 2039. Jaguar Land Rover will work with industry experts to improve sustainability, reduce emissions and collaborate on next-generation technology, data and software development leadership.
Dave Owen, 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, Jaguar Land Rover 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.
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."
For further information please contact:
Circulor Press Office: Guy Dennis at TB Cardew: +44 7917 918226; or Alycia MacAskill: +44 7876 222 703; or firstname.lastname@example.org
About Innovate UK
The project is funded by Innovate UK on behalf of the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund (ISCF) Manufacturing Made Smarter Challenge. Innovate UK is part of UK Research and Innovation, a non-departmental public body funded by a grant-in-aid from the UK government. Innovate UK aims to drive productivity and economic growth by supporting businesses to develop and realise the potential of new ideas, including those from the UK’s world-class research base.
For more information about Innovate UK please visit: https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/innovate-uk/about
About Scottish Leather Group
Scottish Leather Group is the leading manufacturer of leather in the UK and is the parent company to the Bridge of Weir and Muirhead brands. Significant investments in sustainability and circular manufacturing have made the Scottish Leather Group one of the most modern and environmentally focused leather manufacturers in the global leather industry. Detailed information about the Group’s Sustainability initiatives can be found at https://www.scottishleathergroup.com/sustainability-report
Circulor enables businesses to fully analyse, track and manage their supply chains to support responsible sourcing and improve sustainability. It does this by providing an enterprise software platform, which creates a reliable chain of custody of materials and attaches sustainability and other ESG data to that flow of materials.
For information about Circulor please visit: www.circulor.com
About Nottingham University Business School
Nottingham University Business School is an international tri-campus leader in responsible business, management and finance education and a research pioneer in entrepreneurship, innovation, and sustainability. It is part of the University of Nottingham, a research-intensive university with a proud heritage, consistently ranked among the world’s top 100. Studying at the University of Nottingham is a life-changing experience, and we pride ourselves on unlocking the potential of our students. We have a pioneering spirit, expressed in the vision of our founder Sir Jesse Boot, which has seen us lead the way in establishing campuses in China and Malaysia - part of a globally connected network of education, research and industrial engagement.
The Business School specialises in developing leadership potential, encouraging innovation and enterprise, and encouraging an international outlook in its students, partners, and faculty.
In addition to holding international accreditations from AMBA and EQUIS, the School holds a Small Business Charter (SBC) Award in recognition of its role in engaging with the needs of the regional business community and its leadership in providing enterprise skills development.
About Jaguar Land Rover: Reimagining the future of modern luxury by design
Jaguar Land Rover is reimagining the future of modern luxury by design through its two distinct, British brands.
Our current model range embraces fully electric, plug-in hybrid and mild-hybrid vehicles, as well as the latest diesel and petrol engines. Our class-leading Jaguars and Land Rovers are in demand around the world and in Fiscal 2020/21 we sold 439,588 vehicles in 127 countries. Land Rover is the global leader of luxury SUVs through its three families of Range Rover, Discovery and Defender. Jaguar is the first ever brand to offer a premium all-electric performance SUV, the Jaguar I-PACE.
At heart we are a British company, with two major design and engineering sites, three vehicle manufacturing facilities, an Engine Manufacturing Centre and a Battery Assembly Centre in the UK. We also have vehicle plants in China, Brazil, India, Austria and Slovakia. Three of our seven technology hubs are in the UK – Manchester, Warwick (NAIC) and London – with additional sites in Shannon, Ireland, Portland, USA, Budapest, Hungary and Shanghai, China.
Central to our Reimagine strategy is the electrification of both the Land Rover and Jaguar brands with two clear, distinct personalities. All Jaguar and Land Rover nameplates will be available in pure electric form by the end of the decade. This marks the start of the company’s journey to become a net zero carbon business across its supply chain, products and operations by 2039.
As a wholly owned subsidiary of Tata Motors since 2008, Jaguar Land Rover has unrivalled access to leading global players in technology and sustainability within the wider Tata Group.
Jaguar Land Rover press release can be found here.