All four tanneries are Gold Rated
ECCO’s tanneries in Indonesia, the Netherlands, Thailand, and - most recently - China have again been awarded with a Gold Rating from The Leather Working Group.
Anneke Keuning, Group Environmental Specialist, says:
“The Leather Working Group audits have proved to be a great benchmarking tool within the leather tanning industry worldwide. The audit standard is getting more stringent every year, so it is a great achievement of all ECCO’s tanneries to be able to achieve another Gold Rating. Besides the audits, the platform provides ECCO with a huge expertise on best available techniques within the industry and it helps to keep us on our toes and continuously look for ways to improve our environmental performance.”
The Leather Working Group
ECCO’s four tanneries are audited by the Leather Working Group (LWG) on a yearly basis. The LWG audit protocol is a tool to assess the environmental performance of leather manufacturers all over the world. It was developed by brands and leather makers together over a period of several years and assesses tannery operations in absolute terms, for example energy requirement to produce a square foot of leather, proportion of waste recycled etc.
The LWG framework rewards good environmental practice, and the medal levels have been set based upon best practices within the industry. The scoring system enables leather manufacturers to assess themselves against best practices and through benchmarking with themselves and their peers.
At the same time, the LWG serves as a platform to promote sustainable practices within the leather industry. The organisation operates with a transparent approach, where brands, suppliers, retailers, leading technical experts within the leather industry, and NGOs are involved, and members are challenged to continuously improve their practices.
The scoring has been developed with focus on ECCO’s ability to:
- reduce - the amount of resource used (energy, water, chrome etc.).
- reuse – material for the same purpose without additional (or minimal) input (pallets, wastewater etc.).
- recycle – material that cannot be reused into other products.
- recover – raw material (i.e. heat energy for example from oils or solvents that cannot be recycled).
- refuse – any material that can only be disposed of (provided disposal is safe and legal).
The latest tannery which received a Gold Rating was ECCO Tannery Xiamen. Jordan Zhuo, Senior Factory Manager in ECCO Tannery Xiamen, says:
“Firstly, achieving the Gold Rating is a great recognition of the entire ECCO Tannery Xiamen (ETX) organisation. It proves that ETX continues to act with a high standard of business practice and is producing leather on a high level of energy efficiency, compared to the established international benchmark,”
he says and continues:
“Secondly, it will be a good inducement to business growth – Following the ECCO Leather Group strategy, an inclining part of the ETX production is sold to external customers, who are very demanding high-end customers. Not only in terms of leather quality, but also in terms of an environmentally friendly approach. The Gold Rating proves that ETX is not only capable of consistently delivering high quality products, but is also in parallel increasingly environmentally friendly, proven through sound process control systems,”
he says, and ends:
"Thirdly, it motivates ETX to continue the journey and constantly strive for further improvements in line with the ECCO standards by respecting the global environment.”
The audits occur every two years.
What does Gold Standard mean?
The Leather Working Group (LWG) audit protocol is a tool to assess the environmental performance of leather manufacturers all over the world. The scoring is a comprehensive system in which several topics are rated against best practices in the industry and rewards good environmental practice.
At the same time the LWG serves as a platform to promote sustainable practices within the leather industry. Through a transparent approach, where brands, suppliers, retailers, leading technical experts within the leather industry, and NGOs are involved, members are challenged to continuously improve their practices.
Read more about the Leather Working Group here.
ECCO has been a member of the Leather Working Group since 2010
*according to figures from LWG
- 240 leather manufacturers out of 427 received a Gold Rating in 2017
- 548 members in total out of 10-20,000 tanneries worldwide*
- All ECCO’s four tanneries are Gold Rated
- Average energy saved by the LWG rated leather manufacturers each year amounts to 775 Megawatts