Auditing the Leather Supply Chain

Auditing the leather production chain has been the cornerstone of the Leather Working Group's efforts since 2005. The LWG Leather Manufacturer Audit Standard is our flagship certification for the leather industry, developed with input from key actors in the supply chain to promote environmental best practice.

Since then, we've launched several other audit protocols and a self-assessment to properly connect up the leather supply chain, and ensure a tailored auditing approach for different types of operation. 

LWG Leather Manufacturer Audit Standard
Launched in 2005, our flagship audit certification assesses the environmental performance and compliance of leather manufacturing facilities (also known as tanneries). Our leather standard audits tanneries on the following aspects of their production:

  • Water & Energy Usage
  • Solid Waste & Effluent Management
  • Air & Noise Emissions
  • Traceability
  • Health & Safety
  • Chemical Managment
  • Restricted Substances, Compliance & Chromium VI (CrVI) Management

Version 7.0 of the LWG Leather Manufacturer Audit Standard (P7) was launched in early 2021, introducing some major changes to how we assess tanneries for a more thorough understanding of their environmental performance. The audit takes place on site over 2 days and the certification is valid or 24 months.

LWG Trader Audit Standard
Available since 2016, the LWG Trader Audit Standard assesses the environmental impact of traders of part-processed & finished material. The standard also helps to facilitate traceability through the complex leather supply chain. The audit takes place over 1 day on site and the certification is valid for 12 months.

LWG Subcontractor Audit Standard
Introduced in 2020, the LWG Subcontractor Audit Standard assesses the environmental performance of manufacturers completing subcontract work on behalf of other organisations that own the material. An organisation completing subcontracting work on behalf of another company may be eligible for a Subcontractor Audit and can become certified for 24 months.

LWG Commissioning Manufacturer Audit Standard
Launched alongside the subcontractor audit in 2020, the LWG Commissioning Manufacturer Audit Standard assessess the performance of companies that buy leather and commission subcontractors to perform all manufacturing operations on the material, before selling it on. These companies buy their own material for processing, but do not complete any operations themselves, instead using a series of LWG-certified subcontractors. The LWG Commissioning Manufacturer certification is valid for 24 months.

LWG Tannery of the Future Self-Assessment
As part of our effort to provide more educational information to leather manufacturers outside of the LWG certification programme, we launched the LWG Tannery of the Future self-assessment tool in 2019. The tool was initially developed by the Tannery of the Future Foundation, but was acquired and redeveloped by LWG to align with our identified best practices.