Leather Working Group Audits
The protocol and reporting of the environmental audits has been developed and refined during each phase of the project, conjointly with the brand, tanner and supplier members. The protocol is reviewed regularly by LWG members to ensure that it is challenging but realistic and achievable so it can continue to be seen as a ‘dynamic improvement tool’.
The LWG audits are focussed on the environmental elements of leather production and for this reason, do not focus on social, ethical, health and safety, or animal health issues; nor the setting of restricted substance specifications or limits. However, LWG does work closely with other organisations around these other topics.
The audits last for typically two days per site, but this time frame may be extended if the company uses any sub-contractors as these will need to be assessed in a ‘mini-audit’. The audit considers the traceability of a manufacturer’s material back to a specific slaughterhouse, and that is graded independently of the environmental score.
This scoring system for the audits is split into 5 levels of Failed, Audited, Bronze, Silver and Gold, with each grade having a minimum score for each required area. The scores are the aggregated and a total percentage is given, which falls into one of the aforementioned levels. This system aims to reflect environmental impact and encompasses data collated during previous audits, and the scores have been determined by a panel representing tanners, brands and auditors, thereby ensuring that the protocol is an accurate reflection of what is both feasible and attainable by a tannery.
The protocol response and the verbal debrief given by the auditor after the audit has been conducted provides the tannery with the information they need to highlight any areas where they have scored less highly and relevant recommendations for improvement.