Responsible Leather

Advancing responsibility and continuous improvement in the global leather value chain.

Category: Uncategorized

 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.

 

Bio

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.
She has worked in Corporate Banking, Market Research and Finances for almost 5 years. Josefina has been the Country representative at the NGO Solidaridad for another 5 years and over the last 7 years she has been the Director of the Certification and Consultancy Department of Peterson Control Union (PCU). During the last 3 years Josefina has also been the Regional Director of the Global Roundtable for Sustainable Beef (GRSB), having a double function with her PCU position. As of 2020, she is fully dedicated to livestock and GRSB and supporting National Roundtables all over the Region.

 

Responsible Leather

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

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.

Repost: How does Deforestation in Brazil Present an Environmental Risk to the Leather Industry?

From: LeatherSustainability.com | Link to article

How does Deforestation in Brazil Present an Environmental Risk to the Leather Industry?

Deforestation remains one of the key global environmental challenges. In particular, the issue of Amazonian deforestation has been identified as the most significant contributor to global deforestation, and the issue has been the subject of ongoing political debate at the international scale. The question primarily surrounds the legitimacy with which nations housing parts of the Amazon rainforest can harness the world’s largest forested environment for economic gain.

Deforestation of the Amazon has accelerated since 2017, and 2018 saw deforestation occur at a rate that exceeded anything observed in the previous ten years. The rise appears to have continued into 2019, and the amount of Amazonian deforestation in Brazil was 88% higher in June 2019 than in June 2018.

What is causing increased deforestation in Brazil?

The recent intensification of Amazonian deforestation in Brazil is a political one and there is little debate of the economic opportunities offered by exploiting the Amazon, however, the international community is vocal in opposing the removal of a biome that houses an estimated 30% of global species. Supporters of Bolsonaro argue that making use of the Amazon could be transformative to the Brazilian economy due to the provision of raw materials (e.g. timber), land for agriculture (e.g. for the growth of crops such as soy), energy (e.g. hydroelectric), and cattle ranching.

Brazil houses a cattle population in excess of 200 million, of which an estimated 70 million is located in the Amazon biome. Cattle are raised on pastures that occupy around 70% of the cleared areas in the Brazilian Amazon and the industry is a significant cause of forest clearance. The cattle population in Brazil has shown continued growth in recent years, acting as a key source of raw material for the global beef, and as global demand for beef continues to rise, the growth in Brazil’s cattle herd shows little sign of slowing down.

What does this mean for the leather industry?

Due to its significant cattle herd, Brazil is a key source of global raw hide, and a significant number of leather articles originate from animals raised in Brazil. The recent rise in Amazonian deforestation means that it is likely that more cattle will be raised on deforested land in the future. Hides used in the leather industry can originate from animals reared in deforested regions of the Amazon biome. If rates of deforestation continue to rise, it is likely that organisations involved in the leather industry may begin to face a growing pressure to assure customers, investors, and non-government organisations that their products are not linked to deforestation.

Providing this assurance requires brands and retailers to have good levels of leather traceability, and visibility of suppliers upstream of the tannery, and of at least the slaughterhouse, in Brazil. Such standards of leather traceability are not easily achieved due to the complex and international nature of leather supply chains. Nonetheless, a realisation that raw material may be sourced from areas of deforestation requires action to ensure the protection of brand reputation, and the avoidance of negative media coverage.

Reduce Risks with Supply Chain Mapping

Supply chain mapping is the process of enhancing supply chain visibility and learning more about product origins. Eurofins | BLC offer a suite of supply chain mapping services that allow can allow you to investigate your supply chain for sustainability and commercial benefit. Findings can allow you to investigate specific issues (such as deforestation), identify the extent of any potential sourcing from deforested regions, and formulate and deliver an effective response to external stakeholders.

Season’s Greetings from the RLRT

Hi Everyone,

Season’s Greeting!

It has been quite a while since we have been in touch, and I thank you for your patience. Since our very successful event in Ireland, we have been incredibly busy with our Textile Exchange annual conference in Milan, travel to the Outdoor Retailer trade show in Denver, and a lot of work on planning for 2019. I’m sure you have been equally busy in your roles, and hope you get the holiday break that you deserve, and that you start the new year feeling energized and inspired!

Over the last month, we have been taking this time to reflect on what has worked and not worked with Responsible Leather, and thinking about how to really drive the work forward in the new year. One thing that we will be doing is to re-organize the work streams and conference calls to be more focused and effective for everyone. To that end, we will be creating technical task groups that will focus on advancing the development of the different components of the Responsible Leather Assessment tool (RLA), then holding regular Responsible Leather Round Table update calls to keep everyone informed of the progress and give opportunity for input. The work streams will focus on:

  • animal welfare
  • deforestation
  • tanneries
  • traceability
  • communications
  • strategy, design and budget

There will also be stakeholder calls on specific topics throughout the year.

Another change in our strategy is with regards to our funding. We are very grateful for the support of the industry over the past two years and hope that everyone who sponsored our work is pleased with the progress. Now, as we try to develop a strong work plan that we can commit to, we will want to have an upfront understanding of our budget so that we can engage the people that we need, dedicate the resources within Textile Exchange, and plan for travel and meetings. For this reason, we are setting a target amount, and asking companies to commit their sponsorship by the 1st of February. Once we know the amount we need has been reached, we can then push the button and really start moving forward! We have developed a funding brochure that we hope will help you make this commitment.

There is a lot more to talk about in this newsletter, so I will let you read on, but let me finish by thanking our small team of Stefanie and Coty for their relentless hard work, our wonderful friends at the Global Roundtable for Sustainable Beef (GRSB) for so graciously inviting us to coordinate with their event in Ireland, and to all of you for the financial support and many hours of engagement, ideas, and encouragement that you have contributed.  I am very proud to be doing this work and to know all of you!

Warm regards and happy holidays,

Anne

Thank you for joining us in Ireland!

Thank you to those of you who joined us in Kilkenny, Ireland! For those of you who were unable to attend, you can learn more about it below.

The Responsible Leather Round Table (RLRT) held its first in-person event and meeting in Ireland this October 11-12, alongside the Global Roundtable for Sustainable Beef (GRSB)’s Global Conference on Sustainable Beef (October 9-12).

Around 60 delegates from across the leather value chain, from farm to fashion, attended the “Global Forum on Responsible Leather” and added to the discussion around the development of a Responsible Leather Assessment tool (RLA) for the industry. Noting the unique opportunity to engage with members from the beef industry, the overall response from event attendees was positive and echoed the need for more time to focus on the individual issues, as well as the need for funding the extensive amount of work that needs to be done.

Although there are many challenges in the leather value chain, particularly around traceability, RLRT stakeholders are enthusiastic about using the round table as a forum for discussion and debate, particularly when looking at opportunities for alternative traceability models to address issues at the farm level. The RLRT team will spend the remainder of 2018 structuring the work to come in the new year around the wealth of feedback, suggestions and outcomes from the Global Forum on Responsible Leather.

View the presentations, recordings and notes from the event here.

Survey

Help us come up with a name (and more)!

If you have been following our progress, you know that we will soon be establishing ourselves as a “roundtable” and operating through this venue to develop our work further.

We have created a very brief survey as a way for you to help us come up with a name, standardize our terminology, and give your interest in participating in one of our upcoming Task Groups and/or an in-person meeting. The survey should take no more than 5 minutes of your time, and your help is greatly appreciated!

Create your own user feedback survey

Stakeholder Meeting: March 29th

We invite anyone who is interested in learning more or taking part in the Responsible Leather Initiative (RLI) to join our stakeholder meeting on Thursday, March 29, 2018 from 10:00 AM – 11:30 AM EST / 4:00 PM – 5:30 PM CET.

Responsible Leather Initiative Stakeholder Meeting 

Thursday, March 29, 2018
10:00 AM – 11:30 AM EST
4:00 PM – 5:30 PM CET

***NOTE: You MUST pre-register for this meeting at: https://register.gotowebinar.com/register/1899598041065793793

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the call.

All registrants will be automatically sent the recording after the webinar is finished, even if you do not attend. If you are interested, but cannot attend, it is still recommended to register for the meeting.

All meeting notes, slides, and recordings will be posted under Meeting Notes  2-3 days following the meeting.

Please contact us at ResponsibleLeather@TextileExchange.org with any questions or comments, or if you would like to be added to our mailing list.

Stakeholder Meeting: February 26th

We invite anyone who is interested in learning more or taking part in the Responsible Leather Initiative (RLI) to join our stakeholder meeting on Monday, February 26, 2018 from 10:00 AM – 11:30 AM EST / 4:00 PM – 5:30 PM CET.

Responsible Leather Initiative Stakeholder Meeting 

Monday, February 26, 2018
10:00 AM – 11:30 AM EST
4:00 AM – 5:30 PM CET

***NOTE: You MUST pre-register for this meeting at: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/7978095242815232515

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the call.

All registrants will be automatically sent the recording after the webinar is finished, even if you do not attend. So, if you are interested, but cannot attend, it is still recommended to register for the meeting.

All meeting notes, slides, and recordings will be posted under Meeting Notes  2-3 days following the meeting.

Please contact us at ResponsibleLeather@TextileExchange.org with any questions or comments, or if you would like to be added to our mailing list.

Stakeholder Meeting: February 6th

We invite anyone who is interested in learning more or taking part in the Responsible Leather Initiative (RLI) to join our first meeting of 2018 on Tuesday, February 6, 2018 from 10:00 AM – 11:30 AM EST / 4:00 AM – 5:30 PM CET to hear about the work that has been done in 2017 and what our 2018 plan will be. If you are new to the RLI and plan on joining this call, please be sure to include your email address when signing in so that we may keep you on our correspondence list for future updates and meetings.

All meeting notes, slides, and recordings will be posted under Meeting Notes  2-3 days following the meeting.

Please contact us at ResponsibleLeather@TextileExchange.org with any questions or comments, or if you would like to be added to our mailing list.

Details for joining the call are below, or add it to your calendar here.

Responsible Leather Initiative Stakeholder Meeting 

Tuesday, February 6, 2018
10:00 AM – 11:30 AM EST
4:00 AM – 5:30 PM CET

Please join my meeting from your computer, tablet or smartphone. 
https://global.gotomeeting.com/join/263163557 

You can also dial in using your phone. 

Access Code: 263-163-557 

More phone numbers 
Australia: +61 2 8355 1038
Austria: +43 7 2081 5337
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Canada: +1 (647) 497-9380
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Netherlands: +31 207 941 375
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