Leadership from the Leather Working Group

The Leather Working Group (LWG) is a multi-stakeholder group which seeks to promote sustainable environmental business practices within the footwear leather industry.   As a founding and active member of the LWG, Timberland has participated over the past several years in the Group’s efforts to make tanners better aware of best practices and resources, and to help them improve the environmental impacts of their own operations and products.

When the environmental issue of deforestation in the Amazon came front and center about a year ago, the LWG once again proved invaluable in convening its stakeholders to influence positive change in the leather industry.  The LWG  environmental stewardship protocol (which many LWG brands use to assess their suppliers) now includes a section on hide traceability … which will ultimately ensure that the origin of the materials with their supply chains is known and traceable all the way back to the plant where the hides originated.

In Earthkeeper-speak, this all means that the LWG takes the issue of deforestation (as we all do) very seriously — seriously enough to include in their assessment protocol the requirement that suppliers must be able to trace the origin of their leather, all the way back to the cow.  It may sound simple enough, but in fact this level of traceability is tougher than finding a needle in a haystack … and when you consider that cattle grazing is a primary cause of Amazon deforestation, it’s way more important.

We’re proud of the LWG’s efforts to be a part of an important problem-solving effort — not just for our industry, but for the global environment.

To read the Leather Working Group’s recent press statement regarding hide traceability in Brazil, click here:

Leather Working Group press apr26

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