Scottish Leather Group

VIBES Award: Good Practice

Highlights:

  • Makes a low carbon intensity leather, reducing embedded carbon emissions, including by sourcing raw hides locally in Scotland.
  • Continuous investment towards zero waste, reducing waste to landfill through reuse or waste to-energy recovery.
  • Using renewable electricity; since 2017 SLG buys 100% of its electricity from certified renewable and carbon neutral wind sources (100% REGO1).
  • Adding value for their coproducts to sectors including food. At the onset of the COVID-19 crisis they continued to support the “essential” food sector with collagen, their main byproduct.

Scottish Leather Group Limited (SLG) is the largest manufacturer of leather in the United Kingdom and a leader in sustainable leather manufacturing. The Group comprises of four leather manufacturing subsidiaries and a technology company, all located in the West of Scotland. Their specialist leathers are produced for a global market in a wide range of industries including automotive, aviation, bus and coach, rail, marine and contract furniture. It is a past VIBES winner (Management Large Award 2018) and VIBES 2019 Sponsor.

Leather is an inherently sustainable product as an upcycled by-product of beef and dairy farming. Every day SLG saves 100 tonnes of this byproduct from going to landfill and instead turns it into high value luxury low carbon leather. 98.6% of their raw hides are sourced within the UK and Ireland, minimising transportation mileage and further reducing carbon intensity. Grass-fed beef and dairy farms in Scotland operate at net-zero carbon, whilst the carbon footprint of British red meat is only 40% of the world average. (Figures supplied by SLG.)

SLG produces a range of innovative lightweight leather which results in energy savings in production and in turn helps their customers make their own fuel and carbon savings. The automation of leather processing has continued to grow, with many plants now operating via SCADA2, allowing complete process control and transparency.

SLG primarily source water from their own loch which holds 37 million litres of water (equivalent to 15 Olympic sized swimming pools) and is certified Class 1 for purity. Their Ultra-Filtration plant enables them to recycle up to 40% of their wastewater back into leather production. This significantly reduces their intake from the loch, minimising impact on the local watershed.

The Group is around 90% towards achieving their commitments to Net Zero by 2025 and Net Zero Waste by 2025, two decades ahead of current UK and Scottish Government targets. These commitments are being delivered through corporate decision, investment and influencing their supply chain. The consolidation of their business in Scotland and close local links to the hide supply market has increased resilience over difficult recent months. The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has changed business travel to virtual meetings, with many staff continuing to work from home, where possible. SLG also assisted other local companies via online forums and webinars, creating a COVID workbook which has been shared widely.

SLG continues to support their local community through charitable donations and physical efforts. In recent months their vehicles were used to deliver essential supplies to local charities, they produced and supplied 3D-printed face visors to SWG3 through their new ViseUp Enterprise. They also supplied the Royal Alexandria Hospital with ear protectors for masks, and were able to utilise their CNC1 machine to cut material for scrub bags. Local GP surgeries and three local schools are continuing to use the visors supplied by SLG. For the last two years they have supported Families First at Christmas and their continued donations have helped them supply activity bags and basic stationery required for homeschooling to 50 families in Johnstone.

SLG’s philosophy is “a desire to establish the highest industry standards for quality, innovation, value, service and care for the environment”

The Group’s performance is independently audited to the UK Climate Change Agreement. Further information on their sustainability commitments is available at www.sustainablebynature.co.uk.

  Adobe Acrobat Reader is the free, trusted leader for reliably viewing, annotating and signing PDFs. - Download Adobe Acrobat Reader