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A subcontractor is any company undertaking manufacturing operations on material that they do not own, on behalf of another organization. 

In 2020, we launched the LWG Subcontractor Audit Standard to give subcontractors their own route to certification. Subcontractors audited under this standard are awarded a two-year certification and allowing new customers to find them via the LWG website.

The LWG Subcontractor Audit Standard covers 13 sections:

  • General Facility Details
  • Operating Permits
  • Production Data
  • Energy Consumption
  • Water Usage
  • Air & Noise Emissions
  • Waste Management
  • Effluent Treatment
  • Emergency Plans
  • Environmental Management Systems
  • Housekeeping
  • Manufacturing
  • Complaints


Standards Documentation Find a Certified Supplier Find an Auditor

Audit Scope

The LWG Subcontractor Audit Standard was designed to take into account the operations of companies carrying out a range of different operations on a subcontract basis.

This can refer to companies conducting a single operation (such as wet blue splitting,) or those that perform a much larger range of operations on a subcontract basis only.

Where a subcontractor meets the criteria of a full category leather manufacturer then they must be audited with the current version of the leather manufacturer audit protocol (LMAP); except where they qualify as a micro enterprise. 

Where a subcontractor meets the criteria of a full category leather manufacturer and qualifies as a micro enterprise they may be audited using the current version of the subcontractor audit protocol (SCAP). For this, LWG recognises the EU definition of a micro enterprise (Micro enterprise: fewer than 10 employees and an annual turnover (the amount of money taken in a particular period) or balance sheet (a statement of a company's assets and liabilities) below €2 million),  Alternative, comparable classifications of businesses as a micro enterprise that are applicable in other jurisdictions will be considered on a case-by-case basis.


UPDATE: 22 June 2023 – Changes to the auditing of subcontractors

A key purpose of the subcontractor audit and certification is to provide input to the audit of the various leather and commissioning manufacturers for which they undertake work. To ensure that the correct values for energy, water, and VOC are available and used in subsequent audits, it will become a mandatory requirement for subcontractors to provide this information by each individual operation, rather than as a consolidated overall total.

The values presented by operation must represent the overall total for each measure; for energy and water the value will include both the direct consumption for the operation as well as an allocation for general use by the facility.  Where direct measurement by operation is not available, the total may be allocated in proportion to that used for each operation.

If the information is not provided by operation the audit will be failed. To ensure subcontractors can prepare for meeting this requirement, it will come into effect for subcontractor audits undertaken from 1st October 2023.


Certification validity: 24-months
Award: Percentage (%) score, no medal rating

Not sure if you are eligilble? Get in touch with our team directly.

Record of Changes

Changes Issue 1.0.0 to Issue 1.0.0 (Rev.1)


Inclusion of text for the auditing of subcontractors who meet the criteria of a full category leather manufacturer and qualify as a micro enterprise under the EU definition using the subcontractor audit protocol.


Changes Issue 1.0.0 (Rev.1) to Issue 1.0.0 (Rev.2)


Removal of reference to the mini-audit and inclusion of text for removal of LWG website listing 60 days after expiry of certification.


Changes Issue 1.0.0 (Rev.2) to Issue 1.1.0


Inclusion of requirement for provision of water, energy and VOC values by operation with effect from 1st October 2023.


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