Understanding where the material that makes our footwear or leather products has come from is a concern for many consumers. This became an important issue for the LWG when the connection between cattle ranching and deforestation was identified by NGOs as a major problem.

Deforestation has global significance and NGOs have been involved in the ongoing situation, exerting pressure where they can.

Many global brands have been challenged to review their supply chain policies in relation to deforestation and, as an environmental stewardship group with the objective of promoting sustainable and appropriate environmental business practices within the leather industry, the LWG also has a role to play.
In 2008, LWG included a section within the audit protocol to assess a supplier’s ability to be able to trace their raw material back to the slaughterhouse. This ensures that the leather manufacturers within the LWG program have a clear understanding of where their raw material is originating from, With this information and in co-operation with NGOs, the LWG aims to provide increased visibility around material origin for brands and consumers.

Within the leather industry the ability to trace material can be variable depending on the scope of production, the location and the type of material processed. Typically, those sourcing directly from slaughterhouses have good traceability, however LWG also recognise that a large proportion of leather is bought and sold through traders that reduce the transparency of supply.  As a result, in 2016, LWG introduced a new protoocl designed to directly incorporate traders of part-processed material into the programme.

You can also access the guidance notes and statements below for more information