5 December 2022

Textile Exchange and The Leather Working Group (LWG) issued a “call to action” to leaders in the leather industry to end deforestation. The organizations ask that the value chain commits to certifying that the raw material it uses does not come from bovines raised in felled forests.

The proposal targets only bovine leather but brands are urged to extend this policy to other commodities that may be related to deforestation. The first phase of the initiative consists of publicizing the guides and tools to assume the commitment. The second stage aims for companies to convert to adapt to the new production model.

The brands must monitor that all their slaughterhouses are certified as “deforestation free” and they will be required to have traceability throughout the entire chain. The official launch of this commitment will take place on March 21, 2023, Forest Day, and will be accompanied by the Regulation on Deforestation that the EU will publish at the end of this year.

The schedule of the program establishes that in the first six months the companies must establish a “deforestation-free” leather supply policy and make the details of that commitment public.

After a year, it is expected that the companies will have started the investment plan to raise cattle free of deforestation. At 18 months, the companies that signed the commitment must have their supply chain monitored and know the location of all slaughterhouses from which they source leather.

Although the initiative sets a deadline of 2030, it encourages companies to meet the objectives before that date. The organizations understand that not all companies have the same level of knowledge of their supply chain and it takes time to develop the tools and solutions to ensure that leather comes from deforestation-free areas.

The call is open to all companies that want to join and in March 2023 the names of the brands that have signed the commitment proposed by the Deforestation-Free Call to Action for Leather will be published.

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