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Leather Working Group Reaches 1,000 Certified Manufacturers

The Leather Working Group (LWG) announced a new membership milestone on Monday, with more than 1,000 leather manufacturers achieving LWG certification and becoming part of the global LWG community, denoting their commitment to responsible leather production.

As of July, a total of 1,040 sites have been audited by an LWG-approved auditor and awarded one of four ratings–audited, bronze, silver or gold–by complying with the requirements of the LWG global audit standard.

“Our membership has been growing rapidly over the past couple of years and, in fact, we only reached 1,000 members across all sectors back in 2020,” Christina Trautmann, head of the LWG, said. “It’s great to see so many more leather manufacturers getting involved and joining our community, as it is crucial for making the goal of a fully responsible leather supply chain a reality. This collective of companies working together will drive positive action at scale and amplify our impact.”

With LWG’s growing membership, there has been an increase in the level of engagement and collaboration across all membership sectors, including leather manufacturers, leather traders, subcontractors, commissioning manufacturers, brands and retailers, suppliers and NGOs. In June, LWG published the latest update to the Leather Manufacturer Audit Protocol, Version 7.2.2. As announced at the virtual LWG Member Meeting in April, Version 7.3 is planned to be published later this year. It will include critical changes related to the traceability requirements of the LWG audit.

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At the meeting last month, Vanessa Brain, traceability manager at LWG, briefed attendees on the progress of key traceability projects ongoing within the group, including initial feedback on the proposals to introduce mandatory traceability and due diligence requirements into the LWG Audit Standards as a requirement for a medal rating.

LWG is a membership organization composed of more than 1,800 members across the leather value chain, including leather manufacturers, brands, suppliers, traders and associations. The group develops audit certification standards to assess the environmental performance of leather manufacturing facilities and promotes responsible practices in the leather supply chain.

Last year, LWG agreed to a tie-up with Textile Exchange to grant reciprocal membership of their organizations. The move was meant to drive alignment, and facilitate better collaboration and resource sharing. The reciprocal agreement allows members to access each other’s resources, to join member-only events and discussions, and to foster a stronger working relationship to reduce the environmental impact of the leather industry.