The objective of the Leather Working Group is promoting sustainable and appropriate environmental business practices in the leather industry. The group works to improve the industry by creating environmental priorities and provide suggested guidelines for improvement; to do this they work with brands, suppliers, retailers, and leading technical experts in the leather industry. They work by auditing tanneries on their environmental practices.
The Leather Working Group is in its eighth year of operation and is considered to be the most positive pro-active programs by the industry. They have audited over 20% of the footwear leather supply chain. These audited tanneries are rated gold, silver, bronze, pass, or fail and are rewarded for good environmental practice; key areas of audits include environmental management systems, water usage, energy consumption, air emissions, effluent treatment and waste management. These points continuously evolve and recently traceability has been added, meaning the suppliers need to know where their raw materials originated from. For more information on the Leather Working Group click here or visit their website.
Improvements can be seen in second audits; overall during second audits total scores improved by 18% while energy consumption per unit went down 16% and water usage per unit went down 20%. You can read more about the improvements made by the Leather working Group here.
Members of the group include Adidas, Nike, Ikea, Puma, and many more; these manufacturers source from tanneries that use environmentally friendly methods.
Here’s a look into an “Eco-Friendly” tannery: