Today's society is better informed and more aware of the impacts of production and consumption on the Earth's natural resources and their ability to regenerate, the negative impacts that can damage our ecosystem, the importance of fair and humane treatment of workers and animal welfare.

Environmental, social and economic responsibility are essential components for a sustainable industry. Our mission is to help the global leather value chain learn, improve and protect for future generations, following the principle People ~ Planet ~ Profit.

" Let's be the change that secures the future " - Deborah Taylor, Executive Director.


We are industry-led and consumer-focused. At the heart of the Foundation is the integrated SLF Transparency Dashboard™, which is linked to a certification standard that assesses compliance with the three pillars of sustainability and the performance of companies operating in the leather value chain:

  • Environment
  • Social
  • guide

What is the LWG?

The Leather Working Group is a non-profit organisation responsible for the world-leading environmental certification of the leather industry. As a multi-stakeholder group, the LWG has over 1300 members from across the leather supply chain, including:

  • Brands and retailers that sell leather products to consumers
  • Leather manufacturers (also called tanneries)
  • Dealer of semi-processed and finished leather
  • Manufacturer of leather clothing, shoes and furniture
  • Suppliers of chemicals, machines and testing methods for the leather industry
  • Associations within the leather industry and organizations associated with the leather industry.

Since 2005, the LWG has identified best environmental practices in the industry and created guidelines for continuous improvement. We offer a range of audit tools to assess the environmental performance of leather manufacturing facilities - and we certify those that meet our standards.

The vision

The Leather Working Group is the globally recognized brand that stands for responsible leather sourcing within the industry and among consumers.

The order

The LWG aims to improve supply chain impacts holistically by becoming the overarching standard for leather manufacturing, covering all elements and actors in the leather value chain. Our group will:

  • Promoting the positive aspects of LWG certification by:
    • Accurate metrics and data-driven insights
    • Transparency in the supply chain
    • Credible ESG certification
  • More effective marketing and communication with consumers and brands
  • Providing detailed information on key upstream and downstream issues to enable brands and members to make informed decisions and conduct the necessary and additional due diligence that may be required
  • Increased collaboration across all sectors on behalf of and in the best interests of our brands and members

The history of the LWG

The Leather Working Group was founded in 2005 by a group of well-known brands and leading leather manufacturers who came together to address the issue of sustainability in the leather industry.

Our founding members included brands such as Adidas, Clarks, Ikea, Nike, Marks & Spencer, New Balance and Timberland, as well as major leather manufacturers from around the world.

The cornerstone of the group is the LWG Leather Manufacturers Audit Protocol, which was first introduced in 2006 to assess the environmental performance and practical capabilities of leather manufacturing operations. Now available in version 7.0 of the protocol, the audit has increased in scope and depth to assess the key areas of environmental impact within the manufacturing process.

In 2015, we also introduced the LWG Protocol for Traders to recognise that traders of leather materials play an important role in the global leather industry. This protocol has the added benefit of further improving traceability throughout the leather supply chain and ensuring product safety.

In 2017, we launched the LWG Chemical Management Module (CMM) to assess the use, management and disposal of chemicals in a leather manufacturer's operations. The CMM is also designed to align with the ZDHC MRSL for leather, minimizing duplication of effort for our members.

Today, the association includes over 1000 members from across the supply chain and offers multiple certification standards for different stakeholders in the leather industry.