Social Responsibility

Version 7 of the LWG Leather Manufacturer Audit Protocol (P7) introduces a new section on social auditing for the first time. Social responsibility is a key element of sustainability, and the decision to include social compliance as an LWG audit requirement was driven directly by the evolving needs of the LWG membership.

Rather than introduce our own social audit, we will recognise leading social audits from third-party providers.  This will help to support the various initiatives currently working towards industry alignment of social audits and reduce the duplication of efforts in this space.

To meet the requirement of P7, only audit reports or certifications from schemes that have been recognised by LWG and have been undertaken and issued by an organisation accredited for that scheme will be accepted. The auditors who carry out the social audit must meet the requirements set for that scheme.

LWG currently recognises the following social audit and certification schemes:

  • amfori Business Social Compliance Initiative (BSCI)
    Only approved enabling partners can undertake the amfori BSCI audit.  A list of the current approved auditing partners is available on their website.
  • Sedex Members Ethical Trade Audit (SMETA) (2 Pillar Audit)
    SMETA audits can only be undertaken by a third party that has been authorised by SEDEX as an Affiliate Audit Company (AAC).  The list of AACs is available on the SEDEX website.
  • Higg Facility Social & Labor Module (FSLM)
    The Higg Factory Social & Labour Module (FSLM) is normally shared through the Higg platform though can be provided as a report.  The input for the Higg FSLM is the Social & Labour Convergence Program (SLCP) verified data.  The verification of the data in the SLCP Converged Assessment Framework (CAF) can only be undertaken by an accredited verifier body. Details of the accredited verification bodies and the countries where they operate are available on the SLCP Verifier Oversight Organisation (Sumerra) website.
  • Responsible Business Alliance (RBA) – VAP
    The Responsible Business Alliance (RBA) Validated Assessment Program (VAP) includes the undertaking of a social audit and on closure of open findings a recognition (Silver, Gold or Platinum) given dependent on the audit score. The validity of an audit report can be verified through their website by quoting the Facility ID, VAR# and Audit Score from the report.
  • SA8000 Standard, Social Accountability International
    The SA8000 standard and certification scheme is owned by Social Accountability International (SAI) and the accreditation of certification bodies who are authorised to audit and grant certificates is undertaken by their independently managed division, Social Accountability Accreditation Services (SAAS).  The list of accredited certification bodies is available on the SAAS website A list of SA8000 certified organisation list is also available on the SAI website.
  • UNIC Code of Conduct and Social Accountability
    ICEC performs the audits to certify the conformity to the UNIC Code of Conduct and Social Accountability.  For further information please see the contact details on the ICEC website. A list of certified companies is also available via the ICEC website.
  • Worldwide Responsible Accredited Production (WRAP)
    The monitoring of facilities for the WRAP certification can only be undertaken by organisations that have been approved to do so.  The details of the approved monitoring organisations are available on their website.

More detailed information on our requirements can be found here: LWG Social Audit Requirements

P7 Requirements

In P7, the Social Audit section is a non-critical scoring section – meaning it contributes to the overall score of the audit, but it is not an essential requirement to pass. As a new section, this element is being phased in to allow leather manufacturers time to prepare well in advance and have their social audit before their P7 audit. The LWG intends to increase the importance of this section, planning to make it critical in P8, which will be released according to our roadmap, expected as early as Q3 2022.

To meet the requirements of Protocol 7, Section 3 Social Audit, a tannery must have undergone an LWG recognised social assessment. For a social audit or certification scheme to be recognised it must be assessed as meeting the LWG social assessment requirements. The intention is to adopt the use of industry recognised benchmarks, criteria and standards wherever possible while allowing for as broad a range of scheme recognition as possible.

LWG Social Assessment Requirements

For a scheme to be recognised there are two sets of criteria that must be met.

1. Social Requirements

These define the social standards against which the audit, assessment or certification is undertaken. The scope of these covers all core social and labour elements. The social criteria are taken from the Consumer Goods Forum SSCI benchmark requirements for processing and manufacturing facilities. These were developed through extensive consultation and review across a wide range of industry sectors and geographies.

2. Scheme Management Requirements

These define the requirements for the operation of the audit or certification scheme. These are essential to ensure and demonstrate the integrity and credibility of the audit or certification scheme and processes. While these are also based on the Consumer Goods Forum SSCI benchmark requirements it is recognised that it is not feasible to verify all requirements without going through the formal benchmark process. These are therefore a subset of those that can more readily be verified by LWG to demonstrate the robustness of controls and processes in the scheme operation. LWG encourages all audit and certification schemes to undertake the relevant Consumer Goods Forum SSCI benchmark to demonstrate they meet industry expectations for their scope.

More detailed information on our requirements can be found here: LWG Social Audit Requirements



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