- Buyer's Guide
Introducing the Leather Working Group
LWG – What’s it all about?
Without doubt leather is a beautiful, unique and versatile material making its stamp in the world of carry. Whether you’re a maker or an end user of leather carry goods, knowing that the leather was produced in a sustainable way with a focus on minimalizing environmental impact makes it that much more special, adding greater value to those leather goods on both a practical and emotional level. The leather manufacturing industry is becoming increasingly regulated, with enhanced pressure to prioritise environmental stewardship within the leather supply chain – both applaudable developments. However, navigating the changing landscape caused by these developments isn’t always easy. Sometimes you need a helping hand or somewhere to turn to for advice but finding these resources can be a tricky task in itself. However, help is at hand courtesy of the Leather Working Group.
Formed in April 2005, the Leather Working Group (LWG) is a group of 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. What they don’t know about the leather industry just isn’t worth knowing!
The driving force behind the group is the desire to promote improvement in the leather manufacturing industry by creating alignment on environmental priorities, highlighting and enhancing the exposure of best practices, as well as providing guidelines that will support continued improvements within the leather industry.
When it comes to investigating how the leathers of a particular supplier are produced, sometimes a hands-on approach is feasible, but let’s face it – the auditing of a leather processor for environmental impact is a specialist task due to the complex chemistries and the potential risks involved. However, if you’re a brand, designer or maker you don’t have to struggle with carrying out this process yourself – simply call in the LWG. The group’s environmental protocol includes an auditing checklist, scoring and reporting mechanisms, a guidance document and agreed structures for audit visits so you can rest assured that all the bases are covered.
Keeping up to date with developments in the leather industry and within the group itself is both useful and important for anyone who works with this material. 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, the USA, and Europe. The meetings are open to all members of the group and are a great way of staying informed.
If you’re working with leather then you owe it to yourself and this amazing material to check out the LWG: