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 develop our own audit standard, we will recognise leading social audits from third-party providers. We believe that 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. The LWG currently recognises the following social audits and certifications:

In addition, the auditor who carries out the social audit should meet the requirements of the standard. The lead auditor should be qualified and experienced in social compliance auditing and APSCA registration (or equivalent) is preferred.

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

For more information on LWG's social requirements, send an email to