Muirhead, a Scottish supplier of leathers to aviation, passenger transport, interiors and luxury brands, is the first high-performance leather manufacturer in the world to publish its independently verified Life Cycle Analysis (LCA). Muirhead, as part of Scottish Leather Group, has published its products’ LCA in its 2022 Environmental Social and Governance (ESG) report.
The report details the company’s progress towards its goal of zero impact leather manufacturing, with a commitment to achieving net-zero by 2025 – twenty years ahead of Scotland’s net-zero ambitions – and also delivering zero waste to landfill by the same year.
Muirhead’s LCA has been conducted by independent consultants and enables the business to measure the impact of its activities, verify its supply chains and identify opportunities to reduce its overall impact.
The company’s commitment to responsible and sustainable manufacturing has been driven by a series of multi-million-pound investments implemented over the last 20 years, with forward-thinking initiatives such as Muirhead’s patented Thermal Energy Plant (TEP) and Water Treatment & Recycling Plant (WTRP). Muirhead has achieved a small carbon footprint without resorting to any carbon offsetting, while all data published is third-party accredited by BSI and independently verified according to ISO14016, the Environmental Reporting Standard.
Dr Warren Bowden, head of innovation and sustainability at Scottish Leather Group, said: “By becoming the first high-performance leather manufacturer in the world to publish an independently verified Life Cycle Analysis (LCA), we are demonstrating that leather is a naturally sustainable product and that it should be produced in a responsible manner too.”
Future commitment to further reducing emissions
Through its LCA, Muirhead has identified a series of opportunities to further lower its impact in the future.
“The current LCA uses generic farming data, not specific ‘primary’ data which is based on UK farming – widely recognised as being lower impact than the global data – so there is a potential for Muirhead’s LCA to be even lower once this is factored in. Added to this, we are also working on a series of innovations, including biobased alternatives to existing tanning agents and novel tannages which pioneer new techniques,” added Bowden. We are also developing solutions to solve the challenge of end-of-life leather, through energy conversion, or partnering with our customers, to repurpose their leather into new products.”