Leather Working Group (LWG)
Textile and Apparel Industry
STAGE OF VALUE CHAIN
TYPE OF STANDARD
Leather Working Group
The objective of this multi-stakeholder group is to develop and maintain a protocol that assesses the environmental compliance and performance capabilities of leather manufacturers and promotes sustainable and appropriate environmental business practices within the leather industry.
The group seeks to improve the leather manufacturing industry by creating alignment on environmental priorities, bringing visibility to best practices and providing suggested guidelines for continual improvement.
It is the group’s objective to work transparently, involving brands, suppliers, retailers, leading technical experts within the leather industry, NGOs and other stakeholder organisations.
The Leather Working Group (LWG) is made up of member brands, retailers, product manufacturers, leather manufacturers, chemical suppliers and technical experts that have worked together to develop an environmental stewardship protocol specifically for the leather manufacturing industry.
The group endeavours to promote improvement in the leather manufacturing industry by creating alignment on environmental priorities and by bringing visibility to best practices and providing guidelines for continual improvement.
The LWG meets twice per year in various locations around the world. These locations vary depending on the timings of fairs and topical industry events but tend to rotate between Asia, USA, or Europe. The meetings are open to all members.
There is an Executive Committee made up of representative parties that provides oversight and direction for the group. The details for this can be found on the Executive Committee page.
LWG expects any brands or suppliers that wish to use the LWG protocol to assess their leather supply chain to be fully engaged, paid up members of the Leather Working Group.
The Leather Working Group (LWG) provides an environmental audit protocol, designed to assess the facilities of leather manufacturers. The audit protocol considers the following areas related to health and well-being:
the storage, usage and disposal of potentially hazardous chemicals
the provision and use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) in tanneries
the installation of detectors for potentially hazardous gases (e.g. H2S)
the level of housekeeping in a tannery, including clearly marked access routes, storage areas, etc.
As part of its remit of environmental stewardship, LWG assesses the chemical management of leather manufacturers, both via the Environmental Audit Protocol (EAP) and the Chemical Management Module (CMM). LWG aims to make sure leather manufacturers are able to understand, manage and implement chemical management systems, to ensure restricted substance lists are adhered to and ensure chemicals are disposed of in an appropriate manner to reduce pollution and contamination in the air, water and soil. LWG’s CMM will become integrated into the EAP in 2019/20 and aligns with the guidelines of the Zero Discharge of Hazardous Chemicals (ZDHC) organisation. LWG contributed to and endorse the ZDHC Manufacturing Restricted Substance List (MRSL) for leather.