Leather is a key material for us and will continue to be so. To support our ambition to leave things better than we found them, we are focussing on sourcing traceable, deforestation-free and regenerative leather.
The raw material used to make the leather we use originates as a by-product of the food industry. We specify all the leathers used in our products from selected tanneries and aim to only work with Leather Working Group (LWG) certified tanneries. The tanneries that we work with are assessed for a number of factors, including their environmental and social responsibility to ensure they meet our high standards. It is also important we investigate and invest in leather alternatives, which forms part of our approach to achieving Net-Zero emissions.
We are a member of the Leather Working Group (LWG)
The LWG is a collective of tanneries, brands, suppliers, technical experts and NGOs, whose aim is to raise environmental standards throughout the leather industry. LWG tanneries are audited on their environmental performance and are certified as Gold, Silver, Bronze or Audited, depending on their performance.
The LWG audit protocol assesses tanneries across key areas including energy consumption, water usage, air and noise emissions, waste management, health and safety, chemicals management, effluent treatment (which is aligned to the ZDHC wastewater requirements) and the traceability of material through the leather supply chain. Tanneries are now also required to have a recognised social audit. More information about the LWG audit protocol can be found on the LWG website.
The LWG has contributed to greater efficiency across the global leather supply chain, resulting in better environmental performance across the whole industry. This is why we are proud to work with tanneries committed to improving their processes and minimising their impacts. During 2023, over 98% of our leather came from LWG certified tanneries.
We are also a member of the Animal Welfare Group, a sub-group of the LWG
By working together with other brands, suppliers and NGOs, we are supporting the collation of information on animal welfare best practices in the leather supply chain to improve conditions throughout the industry.
We have set ourselves the target to achieve 100% leather traceability by 2024. Check out the leather section of our Sustainability Report here for the latest update on our progress.
Achieving this is only the first step in the journey, which will enable us to safeguard our leather supply chain from the risk of deforestation and other negative environmental impacts.
Traceability is a key enabler for some of our targets and will allow us to safeguard our leather supply chain from the risks of deforestation, as well as other negative environmental, social and animal welfare impacts.
The LWG audit currently scores tanneries on how much of the leather is traceable through their supply chain. We take this score into account as we develop the traceability within our leather supply chain against our 2024 target.
We are also members of the LWG Traceability Working Group, currently holding the position of Co-Chair. Through this group, the LWG and its community are working with NGOs and other organisations, including WWF and NWF, to further enhance the LWG Audit Protocol in terms of traceability. The group is also inputting into further work to enable greater transparency throughout the leather supply chain to progress against areas of particular importance or concern, such as deforestation.
Animal Derived Materials Policy
We have an Animal Derived Materials Policy which sets out our full standards regarding animal derived materials. This includes the materials we do not use, like fur, and recognises the five freedoms as a guiding standard for animal welfare. It also specifies that our shoe care products must not be tested on animals.