LWG Member Meeting in Milan 2019

The Leather Working Group held its 30th Group Member Meeting last week in Milan, alongside a series of sub-group meetings and other events.  The week began with working group sessions and a  meeting of the Executive Committee where final approval was given for a number of key initiatives including the launch of the new “Tannery of the Future – Are You Ready For An Audit?” self-evaluation tool and the next version of the Trader Assessment Tool, version 3.0.1. 

Tuesday 1st October saw a record number of delegates attend the Group Member Meeting – over 150 registrations from all sectors of the industry and from all regions of the world.  For the first time this year, Associate Members were also in attendance and this is a positive development in the growth of the group.

During the meeting, alongside the regular benchmarking and update presentations, members were involved in a session focused on Traceability and Transparency in the supply chain.  Following presentations from National Wildlife Federation and one of the LWG Auditors, members were encouraged to participate in open discussion on the challenges and concerns around Traceability, using panel discussion and instant polling software.  It was encouraging to see real engagement from the stakeholders and the session resulted in positive momentum for further evaluation and feedback.

Details of the revised Trader Assessment Protocol and the new “Tannery of the Future – Are You Ready For An Audit?” self-evaluation tool were also presented, both of which will be launched on the LWG website during week commencing 7th October 2019.

There was a full day Auditor Meeting on Wednesday 2nd October and this was attended by all of the LWG approved auditors.  These team sessions allow the auditors to remain up to date and aligned on all LWG activities and provides the opportunity for them to discuss new areas of development & new audit situations together. 

Following the success of the inaugural LWG Training Workshop held in New York in July this year, 2 further workshops were held in Milan; the morning session on “The Fundamentals of LWG” and the afternoon session on “Traceability and the Trader Protocol”.  Good feedback on these useful sessions was received and there will be additional workshops planned around all LWG meetings in future.

The week culminated with the official signing of an MoU with UNIC at Lineapelle on Friday 4th October.  This important relationship was cemented with a formal intention to collaborate on joint areas of interest for the benefit of the Italian leather sector and the LWG wider membership.  Both organisations are looking forward to the development of joined up communication and a positive sharing of knowledge and information to enhance the sustainable and environmental objectives of the industry.

Looking forward, there will be a Regional Update Meeting held in Novo Hamburgo, Brazil on Wednesday 6th November 2019, a Regional Update Meeting in Chennai, India on 3rd February 2020 and the next Group Member Meeting in Hong Kong on Friday 3rd April 2020.  Dates of training workshops and other associated events will be listed on the website soon.

The Leather Working Group continues to expand in scope and membership and in the year from September 2018 there has been a 30% increase in membership across all sectors.  LWG now has over 575 leather manufacturers under audit, over 100 supplier members and over 90 brand members.  The group continues to meet growing needs and provides a mechanism for environmentally preferred leather, produced by responsible manufacturers that have been assessed for appropriate environmental stewardship practices.

For further information on how to engage with the LWG please visit www.leatherworkinggroup.com