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Kering Eyewear launches digital platform to measure impact of supply chain

Kering Eyewear takes a major step forward in its sustainability strategy by launching an inclusive data exchange platform to measure the overall impact of its value chain.

The V.I.R.T.U.S. project, which stands for “verified, integrated, reliable, trustworthy, unique and secure” is a data exchange platform built on blockchain technology. It enables the assessment and traceability of all operations involved in the manufacturing system.

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This move comes as a further attestation of Kering Eyewear’s objective to comply with the three C’s of Kering Group’s sustainability pillars: Care for the planet, Collaborate for people and Create innovation.

The blockchain-based platform is a centralised, distributed ledger that will allow all parties to contribute to the creation of Kering Eyewear’s product-specific database without any intervention from intermediaries. The cryptographic secure system avoids hacks and manipulations while timely data updates, replications and synchronisations create trust, authenticity and transparency in the accounting asset.

All data uploaded to the ledger lead to the complete traceability of the manufactured good, following the product’s path directly from its origins – from the provenance of raw materials and components to processing, final assembly and related certifications – therefore delivering an exact, complete and reliable overview about every action and aspect behind the crafting of the eyewear of today and tomorrow.

Started in 2018, the new V.I.R.T.U.S. system adopts the blockchain technology on a regulated platform that will allow the company to efficiently measure and quantify the impact of all parties and processes throughout the production flows. Every partner in the Kering Eyewear network will be called on to record directly on the digital platform the data and information required to verify and confirm that each link within the chain is actually adhering to the quality standards and to the environmental, social and ethical practices set out by Kering Eyewear.

After the pilot launch in 2018 with the initial participation of 5 partners, the project has rapidly evolved to currently have 16 partners involved, and its availability is forecasted to advance and extend to the entire Kering Eyewear Supply Chain starting next year, including the direct participation of Certottica, the Italian Institute of Certification of Optical Products.

“V.I.R.T.U.S. is a complex and challenging journey through real innovation and sustainability,” remarked Barbara Lissi, Kering Eyewear’s Global Head of Supply Chain.

“After a 3-year launch phase, we are now able to start building a clear and transparent roadmap of our entire supply chain, achieving detailed analysis and knowledge about the provenance and characteristics of each composition and each manufacturing technique behind what we do. We believe that collecting and sharing truthful information, tracking down the source of the raw materials and components used, is the most consistent and respectful way to corroborate the quality of our products and their full compliance with our ethic and aesthetic standards,” added Lissi.

“Fostering innovation means adapting state-of-the-art technology to the philosophy of collaboration and sharing at the heart of our company,” commented Daniel Bellini, Kering Eyewear’s Global Head of IT & Planning.

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“Our blockchain-based method ensures the protection, security and authenticity of every transaction providing complete identifiability and traceability of our products and partners through verifiable and immutable data. This initiative not only represents a true revolution for the industry but also a profound and inevitable transformation of our progressive path towards increased efficiency and transparent communication,” added Bellini.