Renewable energy helps Renfrewshire leather reduce its carbon footprint

SCOTTISH Leather Group has said it is on track to be carbon neutral by 2025 after investing heavily to support a campaign to reduce emissions associated with its production.

The Bridge of Weir-based company said it recorded a carbon footprint of 1.1 kilograms of carbon dioxide per skin, which is a 90% reduction from 10.3 kg two decades ago.

The company said the reduction reflects the benefits of the multimillion-pound investment it has made in the facilities needed to turn its own waste into energy and to treat and recover the water used in the production process .

The company, which supplies leather used in cars and airplanes, says all of its hides are by-products of the beef and dairy industries, more than 98% of which comes from the UK and Ireland.

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She estimates that her tannery uses 50% less water per skin than the industry standard. The water used in the production comes from the company’s own lake. About 40% of the water used is filtered and recycled. The rest is processed and returned to the original watershed.

The group has developed a thermal energy plant in which waste is converted into heat, thus preventing it from being landfilled.

It has partnered with the luxury company Mulberry, whose range includes bags, in which end-of-life leather will be recovered to be used as fuel. The company said this is part of a pioneering take-back program, which will ensure that old leather contributes to the manufacture of new products.

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Warren Bowden, Group Director of Sustainability and Innovation, said: “It is absolutely clear that sustainability will be at the heart of decision-making in the future and that a linear approach where waste ends up in discharge will not be accepted.

“Within the manufacturing industry in particular, there is a huge responsibility to act quickly, but there is also an opportunity … to help achieve environmental goals set by customers.

The Scottish government has set a target of achieving net zero carbon dioxide emissions by 2045, ahead of the 2050 target set by the UK government.

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