Disappointment over SAC’s Higg Index response to leather industry letter

Published:  16 October, 2020
Credit: Nathan Dunlao

The leather industry has reacted with disappointment over the Sustainable Apparel Coalitions (SAC) response to its joint letter which called for the suspension of the score it applies to leather in its Higg Materials Sustainability Index (MSI).

The SAC indirectly replied to the letter dated October 8 through a blog post titled “SAC Responds to Leather Industry Concerns Over Higg MSI”. As reported by ILM, co-signatories of the letter included the International Council of Tanners (ICT), the International Union of Leather Technologists and Chemists Societies (IULTCS), the Leather and Hide Council of America (LHCA), China Leather Industry Association (CLIA) and leather’s representative body in the European Union, Cotance. 

In its blog, the SAC said it had been in discussion with the Leather Working Group (LWG) “to identify credible data sources that can be used to update this information”, and cited livestock rearing practices and economic allocation factors as examples. “We welcome data sources that can be used to update the time representativeness of the current cow hide datasets”, said the SAC, adding that it agrees that “it would be beneficial to have more geographical coverage to reflect farming methods in different regions.” 

The SAC said it welcomes an open dialogue with industry partners such as the ICT “to ensure that our tools reflect the most current science”, and that the second edition of the Higg PM to be launched in 2021 is to include consideration of use and end-of-life, including material and product quality, repairability, and the use phase. “We welcome further conversation on how to include the aspects of durability and repairability of leather into the Higg PM assessment framework”, it concluded. 

To read the SAC response on its blog, please click here