Crystal Clear: Blockchain in Sustainable Supply Chains

October 28, 2021

With Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) finally trialling the technology it invested in last year, it looks as though the automotive industry has shifted up a gear when it comes to blockchain. Partnered with Circulor, JLR is using blockchain to promote fully verifiable transparency and sustainability across its leather supply chains. With GPS data, biometrics and QR codes wrapped together, this evolution in traceability will allow JLR to track the sourcing and carbon footprint of its leather from cattle to car. By employing blockchain, JLR hopes to follow through on their commitments to offer customers more ethical material choices, while improving its societal impact.

Blockchain application goes far beyond leather supply chains, however. Circular economies, carbon labelling and societal due diligence could all be facilitated at pace, in the public eye, via blockchain.

This move by JLR echoes the trends we are seeing happen in other industries too. In the Food & Beverage sector, organisations like Ferrero and Olam Food Ingredients have committed to improve the traceability of products at risk of unethical sourcing, meaning we may start to see more widespread adoption of blockchain usage in other industries with complex supply chains.

But blockchain is not a panacea. Its energy consumption can be substantial, and traceability must be accompanied by impact. Fortunately, we’re not the only ones to recognise this risk. This year, over 150 supporters banded together to support the Crypto Climate Accord, an ambitious initiative to see blockchain powered by 100% renewable energy by 2025.

So, what’s the bottom line? JLR and others are showing promise when it comes to improving their supply chain sustainability. Traceability, especially when it comes to carbon footprint and ethical sourcing, is a big step in the right direction and blockchain can play a part in making that happen. The next step will be implementing a well thought out impact strategy. With visible and verified data, organisations can have a greater ability to take positive action across their supply chains, but they need to ensure their blockchain is run sustainably and their good intentions don’t produce counteractive consequences.

Author: James Scott