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28 May 2020

Results from the 2020 LWG Member Survey

The annual LWG Member Surveys are an essential tool for helping steer the direction and focus of the Leather Working Group.

We received a total of 245 responses to the 2020 LWG Member Survey, comprised of:

  • 125 Leather Manufacturers
  • 56 Suppliers
  • 45 Brands/Retailers
  • 18 Agent Traders

This represents 34% of the total LWG Membership and the highest survey response rate we have seen. 

By analysing the key themes of the Member Survey, we hope to understand the main priorities for our members across the leather supply chain and make effective change where possible. The key takeaways from the 2020 Member Survey are:

The development direction of the group

As you might expect Members stated that the biggest area of focus should be ‘Stricter environmental targets’ and LWG is committed to making continual improvement in this area. More surprising was that ‘Social Responsibility’, an area which is not covered in the LWG Protocol in any significant detail outside of Health and Safety, was ranked as the second most important area for LWG future development. This will be discussed with Executive Committee and other steering groups. Next was Effluent treatment which remains an important area and one that is currently under review by our technical group. In order the remaining areas were ‘Chemical compliance’, ‘Traceability’ and the ‘Education of tanneries not yet eligible for an audit’.

LWG Medal ratings

Around 75% of the Membership believe the ratings are a fair representation of achievement and an almost equal amount either believe it is too difficult to achieve or too easy. This demonstrated overall satisfaction with the medal awards currently in place.

Collaboration (with other groups such as ZDHC and Textile Exchange)

The vast majority (98%) see this as important or very important for LWG.

Brand Selection

72% of Brands said they used LWG as part of their supplier selection process. LWG recognises that different brands are in different stages of their development hence why we do not see a higher number here.


92% of the Membership view traceability of materials as important or moderately important to the buying decisions within their organisations and 60% believe traceability form part of the critical for medal awards. LWG is working alongside NGO’s to refine its systems in this area.

RSL Failures

65% of tanneries have had no failures in the last 12 month and 88% had less than 5. The reporting of these failures to the LWG team is key here, enabling more focus to be placed on this area when the next audit takes place. Currently 97% of Brands did not report these to LWG.

ZDHC and Chemical Suppliers

97% of chemical suppliers work towards compliance with the LWG endorsed ZDHC MRSL for leather.

Biggest challenges

We had 183 typed responses to this section. Around a quarter of respondents were concerned about the increase in the use of alternative materials and growth of the ‘vegan lifestyle’. Another quarter were also concerned about the reputation of the industry. Key to resolving these issues is through promoting the positive achievements and ongoing development of the LWG protocol and our Members involvement in this.


Environmental concerns

How we measure and assess Carbon emissions as an industry and how LWG can become involved in this environmental global issue is becoming even more prominent a concern for our Members.




Category: News