InMotion, the venture capital arm of Jaguar Land Rover, has announced an undisclosed investment in blockchain technology provider Circulor.
Circulor, based in the United Kingdom and Ireland, offers ‘traceability as a service’, to enable tracing of raw materials throughout a global supply chain. Using a combination of GPS, biometrics and QR codes, as well as blockchain, movement of raw materials can be digitally verified at all points of the process.
The investment ‘will enable Jaguar Land Rover to source premium materials with greater transparency as to the provenance, welfare and compliance of suppliers throughout its networks’, the company said. It added the funding was part of its ‘commitment to be a responsible business.’
Current investors in and partners with Circulor include Hyperledger and Oracle on the tech side, and Boeing, Mercedes-Benz and Volvo on the brand side. Volvo announced its investment in July, focusing primarily on greater traceability for cobalt in its supply chain.
This is a key area where automotive manufacturers are looking to improve their output. Cobalt is used significantly in lithium ion batteries, a rechargeable battery for powering electric cars. Yet multiple estimates assess between two thirds and three quarters of the world’s cobalt supply is sourced from the Democratic Republic of Congo, a country with a very poor record on working conditions and child labour.
“This investment is further evidence of Jaguar Land Rover’s commitment to improving the sustainability of its supply chain around the globe, and will help authentically trace raw materials from origin to supplier, eventually to vehicle,” said Sebastian Peck, managing director of InMotion Ventures in a statement.
“The implementation of blockchain technology provides a great opportunity to make a systemic change in supply chain compliance, not just for the automotive world but for other industries, too,” he added.