This article is one in a series of articles, in which the ‘Tannery of the future’ sustainability tool is explained in more detail.

In the previous article, we have shared the origin and goal of ‘Tannery of the Future’. (Click here for the article)

The goal of the sustainability tool is to support tanneries and leather buyers with a list of easy to understand questions. The answers should give an indiction as to where a tannery is standing in the field of sustainable leather production.

The tool can be downloaded free of charge by a tannery or a leather buyer. The next step is to fill out the questions (answers are yes/no) and estimate in which field you are acting sufficiently and in which fields you might improve. The third step is to implement the improvements necessary for the future.

The first chapter in the sustainability tool is ‘Operating Permits’, which we highlight in more details in this article.

Clients and the law require that leather and leather products are made in factories that possess the necessary operating permits. Clients and consumers simply expect tanneries including sub-contractors to fulfil all applicable legal conditions in the country where they operate.

You might think that the above is logical and should not need to be part of the questions asked. Unfortunately, working according to legal conditions is not automatically done in all countries or by all players in the industry. For a leather buyer this can result in a considerable risk. For the tanner this can result in a high business risk for the future. For the environment and the people working in our supply chain this can result in a risk for health and safety. All risks are unwanted and need attention.

In the tool you can find questions which can trigger understanding the importance of working according to operating permits. Think about questions like:

  • Has your tannery been free from subjection to any regulatory enforcement actions or fines in the past 18 month? Yes/No
  • Is the facility operating within the designated limits of its permit or any other pertinent legislation or restriction? Yes/No
  • Have regulatory authorities (within the last 12 months) visited your tannery and ascertained that you are operating in accordance with the permit conditions? Yes/No

With all chapters in the tool, it is the choice of a tannery and leather buyer to request or provide evidence. The questions in the tool only want to support improving awareness about the importance of working within the law.

In the next article we will provide more insights in the chapter ‘Restricted substances’.

Please do get in touch with us to implement the tool, and thus take responsibility to make the leather industry cleaner, fairer and safer.

With best regards,

Board Tannery of the Future Foundation

Antoinette Gast, Hans Both, Frans Tilstra, Egbert Dikkers

August 2017

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