Scottish Leather Group has today published its 2021 Sustainability Report, detailing the company's progress towards its key goal of zero impact leather manufacturing. Already the world's lowest carbon intensity leather manufacturer, the firm has also announced that it is well on its way to being carbon neutral by 2025 — 20 years ahead of Scotland’s net zero ambitions.
In addition to an independently verified Life Cycle Analysis (LCA) conducted on the entire manufacturing process, Scottish Leather Group recorded a carbon footprint of just 1.1kg of CO2 per hide – a 90% reduction from 10.3kg two decades ago.
The group, which encompasses brands Bridge of Weir Leather, Lang and Muirhead, is the leading manufacturer of leather for the global automotive, aviation, rail, furniture, and luxury goods sectors.
Scottish Leather Group’s long-term commitment to responsible and sustainable manufacturing has been driven by a series of significant, multi-million-pound investments implemented over the last 20 years. Its forward-thinking initiatives include a Thermal Energy Plant (TEP), which ensures that the company avoids disposal and turns waste into heat. The firm also sources natural, clean, local water from its own loch. And with its Water Treatment & Recycling Plant (WTRP) plant, the company is able to recycle up to 40% of its treated water back into use within production, while its world-class tannery uses 50% less water per hide than the industry standard.
Frank Flynn at the Water Treatment & Recycling Plant. Image courtesy of Scottish Leather Group.
Through the adoption of circular manufacturing, Scottish Leather Group has positioned itself ahead of the curve with more than 80% of waste already diverted from landfill, and in just four years the manufacturer aims to have a 100% closed-loop process as it strives for net zero –transformational within its sector.
Within its TEP, a new partnership with luxury brand Mulberry will see Scottish Leather Group recover end-of-life leather into fuel as part of a pioneering take-back scheme, ensuring that old leather contributes to the manufacture of new products.
This year, the completion of the Life Cycle Analysis is a further step towards realising the company’s goals and delivering its future commitments. The LCA, conducted by independent consultants, enables the business to measure the long-term impact of its activities, and that of its supply chains, while identifying further opportunities to reduce overall impact. Scottish Leather Group’s unique lowest carbon leather, as measured and validated by LCA, directly supports its customers and their journey to net zero carbon emissions across their entire supply chains.
Doreen Black and Robert McLatchie at the cutting table. Image courtesy of Scottish Leather Group.
Dr Warren Bowden, sustainability and innovation director at Scottish Leather Group, said: “We are extremely proud to officially be able to reference our products as the lowest carbon leather in the world.
“At Scottish Leather Group, we believe that leather is a naturally sustainable product and that it should be produced in a responsible manner. Over the last two decades, our pioneering approach has seen us reduce our CO2 per hide from 10.3kg per hide to 1.1kg per hide – a decrease of 90% – and we are fully committed to lowering this figure even further as we look ahead.
“It is absolutely clear that sustainability is going to be at the core of decision making going forward and that a linear approach where waste ends up in landfill will not be accepted. Within the manufacturing industry in particular, there is a huge responsibility to act fast but there is also an opportunity from getting ahead of net zero targets to help to meet customer driven environmental targets.”
Following the company’s 2025 goal to be carbon neutral, Scottish Leather Group will turn its efforts to going that step further to achieving a carbon positive status, which would be pioneering for the sector.
Dr Bowden added: “After we reach our net zero goal, which we are well on the way to achieving by 2025, we won’t stop there. With all conversations currently focused on being carbon neutral, it is important that we also consider what comes next.”
To find out more about Scottish Leather Group and to read its Sustainability Report, please visit: https://www.scottishleathergroup.com/sustainability-report
*Header image: Alister MacDonald at the quality table, courtesy of Scottish Leather Group.