Leather Matters is a program that contributes to a sustainable and socially responsible leather sector by activating innovations in the market and developing commercially viable solutions. We want to inspire conventional players in the sector to work in a way that does not harm the environment and with a positive impact on the people working in the sector. Because leather matters!
Worldwide the leather sector has been growing and activities within the value chain have a global character, among which the largest players can be found in Asia and South America, where production of raw materials, processing of hides and manufacturing increased over time. The sector employs millions of people across the value chain and is subject to substantial global trade. Some countries have therefore even made it a matter of policy to promote leather production in support of economic development.
With a sector of such a size come significant challenges. Raw materials are associated with climate change, certain processing activities can lead to serious health and environmental issues, and recycling of leather remains difficult. While there is an increasing amount of sector players that is willing to act on these challenges, it is often done in a step-by-step approach with a focus on their own part of the value chain. Most initiatives are taking place in the processing part in which hides are being processed into leather. As a result, most positive impact is small scale and remains limited to specific issues. To make a lasting impact on the complete sector, a more progressive and comprehensive approach is needed.
Time to innovate!
Our aim is to bring positive change in the leather sector. We believe that business principles can be applied to solve larger societal and environmental issues. In doing so, the sector will not only benefit from sustainability in the environment, but also in the economic sense. Therefore, we want to inspire conventional players in the sector to join the change by starting innovative initiatives and pursuing activities that can stimulate systemic change. Thereby we focus on all parts of the value chain: from livestock to raw hides, from hides to leather, from manufacturing leather products to product life extension.
From issue analysis to innovation
- Start with an issue analysis of the complete value chain of the sector to define the existing system flaws and their impact, and which levers to pull to solve them
- Investigate which innovations can speed up the transition to a global, sustainable value chain for leather, and which will be most impactful and scalable
- Define the business model for the first initiative
- Launch the first initiative