CSR and the leather industry

CSR and the leather industry

CSR and the leather industry

30th November 2022

Corporate social responsibility: what is it, and what does it have to do with leather?

First, we need to define what CSR is. According to the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO), it is a “management concept whereby companies integrate social and environmental concerns in their business operations and interactions with their stakeholders”. It is a practice by which companies try to balance their profit making with environmental and social concerns.

Of course, these concerns apply to businesses in the leather industry as much as anyone else. Working to towards sustainability and the equitable treatment of employees is now as important as a simple race to profit. This is decided by consumer power as much as the motivations and consciences of the people who run the companies.

UNIDO recommends the ‘Triple Bottom Line’ approach to Corporate Social Responsibility. This means companies must work to satisfy shareholders or stakeholders financially (obviously a business would be unable to exist otherwise) and to satisfy environmental and social concerns – in short, to be as sustainable as they can and to treat employees and others fairly.

Key CSR issues are, according to UNIDO: environmental management, eco-efficiency, responsible sourcing, stakeholder engagement, labour standards and working conditions, employee and community relations, social equity, gender balance, human rights, food governance and anti-corruption measures.

Fortunately, there are people who monitor CSR on behalf of us, so we don’t have to look into all of these things every time we are a considering buying something or using a service.

The Sustainable Leather Foundation, the audit organisation that allows leather producers, manufacturers and retailers to track their audits throughout the supply chain for sustainable practices has a dashboard to check audits for social and environmental certifications. The Leather Working Group, the certification organisation that allows leather producers, manufacturers and retailers to audit themselves for sustainability also has a list of approved audits and certifications for Social Responsibility. Learn more here and here.

Further reading: To find out more about leather and corporate social responsibility, check out Nothing to Hide.