Kate Spade, Adidas and other brands commit to more transparent leather supply chain

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The Textile Exchange and Leather Working Group have launched a joint initiative calling for companies to create deforestation-free leather supply chains.

Through the Deforestation-Free Call to Action for Leather project, the two nonprofit groups are asking brands across industries to commit to sourcing bovine leather from supply chains that are deforestation and conversion-free by 2030 or earlier, according to an announcement for the project on the Textile Exchange’s website.

The group wants brands to boost supply chain transparency to identify where their raw material is sourced.

Several fashion brands, including Tapestry Inc. which owns brands with leather-heavy goods like Kate Spade and Coach, have committed to the group, according to a news release from Tapestry. The release states that Tapestry is aiming to achieve 95% traceability in its supply chain by 2025. Its Coach brand also announced a sub-brand earlier this year, Coachtopia, which uses recycled leather.

Other early signees noted in Tapestry’s release are Adidas, American Eagle Outfitters, Inc., AllSaints, Arezzo&Co, BMW Group, Capri Holdings, H&M Group, Icebug, Kering, Mango, Marks & Spencer, PUMA, Range Revolution, Reformation, Roots and R.M. Williams.

The group outlined expectations for participating brands, which include implementing traceability into supply chains, meeting investment targets that boost the supply of such leather, and reporting on progress, among others.

“The aim of this initiative is to take collective action to protect our forests and natural ecosystems,” Christina Trautmann, head of the Leather Working Group, told Fashion Dive in an email. “While cattle rearing is driven by the meat industry, we hope to influence positive change through the Call to Action.”

Cattle rearing is a driver of deforestation, as well as a contributor to the conversion of natural ecosystems such as grasslands and savannahs, according to the announcement.

Both Puma and Nike committed to discontinuing the use of kangaroo leather earlier this year.

The Textile Exchange previously launched several other fashion industry initiatives focused on promoting positive impacts on climate, soil health, water and biodiversity. The Leather Working Group was founded in 2005 and is a collaborative initiative between footwear, apparel and upholstery brands and leather manufacturers. It was founded by brands Adidas, Clarks, Ikea and others.

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