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,