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Leather Sourcing Gets a Sustainable Spin

The Sustainable Leather Foundation (SLF) and the Oeko-Tex Association have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) under which the two organizations will work collaboratively across a number of areas to benefit the global leather industry.

The primary aim of the MoU is for the groups to work to support improvement in standards and promote ethical, fair and open dialogue for the common good of the leather sector.

“We are very much looking forward to the collaboration with the Sustainable Leather Foundation,” Georg Dieners, secretary general of Oeko-Tex, said. “With its broad and collaborative approach, the SLF provides enhanced performance and credibility for the end-consumer and the environment. Only in a joint approach with multiple partners will we achieve meaningful impact towards a more transparent and sustainable future.”

Specific objectives include identifying equivalency of standards for the purposes of certification in the leather industry to reduce the burden and duplication of effort on the leather manufacturers.

The organizations also want to identify common areas of work for joint development to provide more harmonized sets of standards and expectations for the global leather value chain, while working collaboratively on joint communications, meetings and events that help to support understanding and improvement in the leather industry and for consumers.

“Oeko-Tex is well-recognized as leaders within the textile industry for their work, with over 25 years experience in certifying textile products that have been tested for harmful chemicals,” Deborah Taylor, managing director of the Sustainable Leather Foundation, said. “More recently, their portfolio has expanded to include leather, as well as textiles, and we are looking forward to finding more connected ways to help brands and retailers provide peace of mind and a sense of trust to their consumers.”

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The SLF is a global, not-for-profit foundation, incorporated as a Community Interest Company (CIC) for the benefit of all stakeholders in the leather industry. With an industry-led, consumer-focused approach, it provides a certification program, education, best practice, cohesive collaboration and global action. At the heart of the foundation is a transparent dashboard app and integrated web platform linked to a certification standard that assesses new or existing records, conformance and performance of leather manufacturers and associated facilities, against the three pillars of sustainability – the environmental, social and governance.

By providing a consumer-accessible window to sustainability performance, alongside fully transparent, detailed data for the value chain partners, the SLF can independently foster better collaboration, better solutions and better outcomes for people, planet and profit.

Oeko-Tex’s portfolio of independent certifications and product labels enable companies along the textile chain and all consumers to make responsible decisions in favor of products that are harmless to health, environmentally friendly and manufactured in a fair way.