Before long, brands and retailers sourcing leather for their products may be better able to trace that raw material through their supply chains.
Applied DNA Sciences Inc., a provider of molecular technologies that enable supply chain security, has successfully completed its year-long consortium research project with BLC Leather Technology Center Ltd. (BLC), to tag leather from farm to finished product.
The research project included applying DNA to animals on a farm to test for recovery when hides were delivered to a tannery. It also including applying DNA after initial tanning to test for recovery following leather splitting on both grain leather and drop splits, and applying DNA during the leather finishing process to test for DNA recovery.
Applied DNA said it reached all of its research objectives through the project, and that they were able to prove the technical feasibility of DNA marking throughout the leather supply chain using SigNature DNA. SigNature DNA describes the core technology ingredient that is at the heart of a group of uncopyable, security and authentication solutions created by Applied DNA.
“Success in this category is a testament to the adaptability of DNA, but more importantly, to the skills of our teams and the strength of our intellectual property,” Dr. James Hayward president and CEO of Applied DNA, said. “When properly formulated, DNA can survive most manufacturing processes and physicochemical environments.”
Barbara Bramble, vice president of international conservation and corporate strategies for the National Wildlife Federation, which co-sponsored the project, said it was important in developing technologies to increase visibility on complex traceability issues within leather supply chains.
“Clarity on the origin of leather can help protect native habitat and wildlife by providing producers and suppliers with the necessary information to follow through on ‘zero-deforestation’ and other supply chain commitments to protect native habitat,” Bramble said.
Dr. Victoria Addy, Technical Director of BLC, agreed that the potential for Applied DNA’s technology to help the leather industry ensure a fully traceable supply chain was vital and said, “we look forward to working with Applied DNA and sponsors in the coming months to see the technology being introduced.”