Successful LWG Spring Member Meeting, April 2022

28 April 2022

Following a busy beginning to the year, the Leather Working Group team hosted one of their bi-annual member meetings virtually, on 26 and 27 April 2022.

The event brought together stakeholders from across the leather supply chain, including brands and retailers, leather manufacturers and traders, and many more. The program featured talks given by speakers from PrimeAsia Leather Company, adidas, and TFL Ledertechnik.

Future Direction

Ian Scher, Chair of the LWG Executive Committee, kicked off our meeting with a summary of LWG’s goals and future strategy: LWG envisions a future where responsible leather sourcing exists in harmony with people, nature, and the planet. To do this, we will champion sustainable leather sourcing, grow our knowledge base, and continue to collaborate with our membership and external partners.

Key to our organization’s development is the input of our membership base. As such, Christina Trautmann, Head of LWG, presented the interim results from the Annual Member Survey for 2022. The results included a clear priority to improve supply chain transparency and traceability of material, as well as align with external frameworks such as the UN Sustainable Development Goals and the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi). More information will be made available about the results of the Member Survey shortly.

Membership

As a reminder of our group’s remit, Jennifer Thorpe, LWG Marketing & Engagement Manager, gave an update on our membership base and collaborative partners. As of April 2022, Leather Working Group has a membership of over 1,700 companies across 55+ countries.

LWG continues to collaborate with organizations that bring value to our membership, including NWF, WWF, Solidaridad, VDL, Leather Naturally, ZDHC, and more. Read more about our collaborations here.

Website

Jennifer Toes, Communications & Events Lead at LWG, presented some upcoming changes to the LWG website and new functionality. LWG will plan to launch its new website in June/July 2022, which will include better user journeys for all members, updated content, and a fresh look and feel.

First presented as a concept at the LWG Member Meeting in April 2021, the first phase of the LWG Supplier Scorecard will launch shortly alongside the new website. The Scorecard will serve as a digital summary of a facility’s performance in their LWG audit. More information to come shortly.

Chemical Management

Dietrich Tegtmeyer, Global Head of Business Development, and Industry Relations at TFL Ledertechnik, gave an overview of the legislative landscape for chemistry within the leather sector. There are proposals for further regulation of skin sensitizing chemicals, bisphenols, and glutardialdehyde. For more information, visit the TEGEWA website.

Traceability

Vanessa Brain, Traceability Manager at LWG, gave an overview of the group’s traceability and deforestation due diligence work – as well as the key outcomes of the Traceability Working Group’s regular meetings. We aim to achieve a fully deforestation and conversion free (DCF) LWG leather supply chain by 2030. In response to industry demand, LWG will shortly open a consultation on proposals to make traceability requirements and additional due diligence in regions at risk of deforestation mandatory to achieve a medal rating. Following on from this, we plan to develop a chain of custody (CoC) certification to enable verified product claims and ensure full visibility within the leather supply chain.  

Austin Davidsen, of adidas, provided the brand perspective on the role that LWG has played for their approach to leather sourcing, the importance of transparency and how to manage the potential impact on medal ratings that continuous improvements might have. 

Claims & Labelling

Version 2.2 of the LWG Claims Framework was published in March 2022. Jennifer Toes, Communications & Events Lead at LWG, briefed members on the applicability of the framework for both membership claims and on-product labelling. More information about the changes to Version 2.2 can be found here.

LWG Audit Standards

LWG’s Head of Operations, Stuart Cranfield, detailed our roadmap for the development of the LWG Audit Standards. In 2022, the feedback received during the public consultation on the LWG Subcontractor Audit will be reviewed and implemented, and the LWG Trader Audit 4.0 will go live on 1st June. Later on in the year, we will launch a consultation related to our traceability requirements and publish a Version 7.3 of the LWG Leather Manufacturer Audit.

As of April 2022, there were over 1,330 sites certified against the LWG Audit Standards, representing an approximate 25% of global finished leather production.

Sustainability

Dr. Leticia Millward, LWG’s Sustainability Project Manager, outlined the progress of the LWG Lifecycle Assessment (LCA) project, announced initially in November 2021. Data collection for the LCA has begun as of April 2021 and will continue for several months.

In addition, Dr. Millward briefed members on the proposed inclusion of a Carbon Footprint Calculator into LWG’s offering and called on companies to engage with the LWG Carbon Neutral Challenge --we aim to achieve full carbon neutrality by 2050.

Animal Welfare

Peter Hughes, Lead of the LWG Animal Welfare Group (AWG), provided an update on the AWG’s recent output and plans for the next 12 months. To date, the AWG has produced 26 Country Profile Reports and an Animal Welfare Guide. This year, the group aims to create an interactive summary of all information gathered across its different outputs.

LWG Members can access the slides and a recording of the webinar here. Member access credentials are required.

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