02 November 2020
The coalition of global leather industry bodies, headed by the International Council of Tanners (ICT), welcomes the positive tone and the openness to dialogue expressed by the Sustainable Apparel Coalition (SAC)’s Executive Director, Amina Razvi, and looks forward to discussions to bring about an effective improvement of the Higg MSI.
The leather industry regrets that SAC will not suspend the MSI, pending the necessary improvements needed for the scoring of natural materials. The ongoing promotion of incorrect environmental impact values for leather, specifically, a natural material and by-product of the meat and dairy sector, will continue to damage the reputation of the leather value chain.
ICT acknowledges the 2 November 2020 announcement from SAC regarding the retirement of the MSI aggregated Single Score and the additional transparency it brings, but remains concerned that the underlying data and methods for the five impact areas do not truly represent the impact of some materials.
The leather industry recognises the laudable intention of the Higg tools, to inform apparel, footwear, and home interior designers and developers that wish to make more sustainable materials choices. However, ICT reasserts its belief that the use of inappropriate methodologies and out of date, unrepresentative, inaccurate and incomplete data, means that leather has been burdened with disproportionately high Higg Index scores, which does not reflect its sustainable, circular nature.
ICT welcomes the opportunity to discuss these issues with SAC further to explore mechanisms to identify the most appropriate data and metrics for leather. The leather industry also plans to assess the feasibility of setting up a leather-specific sectoral database, to provide its operators, customers as well as academia and the wider public, robust data on the environmental impact of leather, its supplies, processes and products.
Dr Kerry Senior
Secretary – ICT
Note to Editors
The global leather industry is represented by the International Council of Tanners (ICT), International Council of Hides, Skins and Leather Traders Association (ICHSLTA) and International Union of Leather Technologists and Chemists Societies (IULTCS), which are the three main global leather organisations that comprise the Global Leather Coordinating Committee (GLCC), and COTANCE, the representative organisation for the European leather industry. GLCC receives technical support from various organisations including the Leather Working Group (LWG).