Josefina Eisele: Farm Impacts Lead, Responsible Leather and Impact Credits
A new member has joined the Responsible Leather team. We are pleased to announce that Josefina Eisele has accepted the role of the Farm Impacts Lead at the Responsible Leather and the Impact Credits. We are very lucky to have someone with her skills and experience, and we are certain that she will play an important role in the success of the Deforestation/Conversion-Free (DCF) scope, and the Impact Credits.
Josefina Eisele is an Argentinean sustainability professional with almost fifteen years’ experience in working on the development of sustainable supply chains and certification schemes projects in the Latin America region. She has worked for many years on soy, sugarcane, beef, tea, coffee, fruits and vegetables projects, building solutions to different actors of the supply chain to bridge sustainability gaps. She has broad experience in supporting private sector companies with their social and environmental commitments and development of Responsible Sourcing Programs.
In 2017, Textile Exchange began an initiative to focus on leather in response to demand from brands to address the impacts of the full leather value chain. Although there are already many existing standards and programs that address leather, we have discovered there is still a need to bring together stakeholders and interested parties from across the industry to develop a common framework. This will allow brands and retailers to send consistent and clear messages about their expectations to the value chain, as well as give members of the value chain a means to meet the needs of the brands and benchmark their own practices.
To make this happen, Textile Exchange pulled together over 350 stakeholders from all parts of the industry, including brands, farmers, and suppliers, as well as NGOs, international organizations and special interest groups. We have now established the Responsible Leather Round Table (RLRT), a platform where everyone can participate, share information and drive the development of an assessment tool for the leather industry.
The Responsible Leather program which is being developed through our International Working Group (RLA IWG), will establish a benchmark of agreed-upon best practices. It will be a framework to identify and give visibility to existing standards, programs and tools that brands can use for their sourcing. Most importantly, it will give everyone the ability to clearly and effectively communicate about their actions.
A key component of the program will be the development of Deforestation/Conversion-Free requirements that farmers can meet in order to qualify for selling Impact Credits (see below). Although there will be an initial strong focus on DCF in regions that are high risk for deforestation, the scope is global and includes all forms of land conversion. Note that the Responsible Leather work is closely aligned with the Global Roundtable for Sustainable Beef.
Impact Credits are essentially a mechanism for brands to deliver their expectations back to the start of the supply chain and provide financial rewards to incentivize them.
Impact Credits refer to the certificates that are traded in support of a sustainability claim. The credits are issued when a set of criteria have been confirmed to have been met. The physical goods and the credits are traded separately from each other. The credit certificates represent a specified quantity of verified material that has been produced but has not been physically traded as verified goods.
The way they work is quite simple; farms that meet the standard or benchmark will be able to sell credits for their volume of output, and brands can purchase these credits to balance out their use of these output materials. The farms selling the credits may or may not be in the supply chain of the brands, as the credit trading system does not address any traceability. While this means that brands cannot make any content claims on their products, they can by-pass the cost and complexity of long or opaque supply chains in order to deliver impact quickly and efficiently. And they can still make claims about their support for best practices.