Leather Working Group Leading the Charge for Sustainable Leather

by Team MDS on Apr 09, 2024

Leather Working Group Leading the Charge for Sustainable Leather

The Leather Working Group (LWG) is spearheading a sustainable revolution in the global leather supply chain. Established in 2005, this not-for-profit membership organisation has evolved into the world's largest leather industry-specific stakeholder organisation, with over 2000 stakeholders across 60 countries. Its members include brands, retailers, manufacturers, traders, suppliers, NGOs, and associations, all working together to promote responsible leather production and sourcing practices.

A Collaborative Effort for Sustainability

At the heart of LWG's mission is the drive to provide value to stakeholders and drive meaningful change. The organisation's Executive Committee, representing various sectors within the leather industry, offers strategic guidance. Additionally, several sub-groups advise the Committee on specific topics such as traceability, technical audit development, and environmental impact.

LWG focuses on multiple areas to reduce the environmental impact of the leather industry. These include standards and certification, environmental impact assessment, traceability, social responsibility, chemical management, and aligning with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UNSDGs).

Driving Transformational Change

LWG's goal is to reduce the impact of the leather supply chain through industry collaboration, auditing for accountability, and providing science-based data. The organisation envisions a leather industry committed to sustainable and responsible business practices, with full supply chain transparency, minimal environmental impact, and deforestation-free supply chains.

Challenges and Criticisms

Despite its efforts, the leather industry faces criticism, including from environmental activists. Some argue that the industry is unfairly targeted, noting that it is already taking steps to promote sustainability. While acknowledging the need for improvement, industry insiders emphasise the industry's efforts and call for a balanced approach.


In conclusion, the Leather Working Group is a beacon of sustainability in the leather industry, driving positive change and setting the standard for responsible business practices. However, responsibility also lies with buyers, managers, directors, and all involved in the supply chain. Paying a fair price for value offered will go a long way in reducing our impact on the earth.

**Note:** ESG refers to Environmental, Social, and Governance factors used to evaluate a company's sustainability and ethical impact.