Leather supplier Muirhead publishes LCA


Muirhead, which supplies Scottish leather to companies in the aviation, passenger transport, interiors and luxury sectors, has published an independently verified lifecycle analysis (LCA).

Muirhead, as part of Scottish Leather Group, published its products’ LCA in its 2022 Environmental Social and Governance (ESG) report.

Detailing progress towards its goal of zero-impact leather manufacturing, the company commits to achieving net-zero by 2025 – 20 years ahead of Scotland’s net-zero ambitions – and also delivering zero waste to landfill by the same year, further fortifying its sustainability pledges.

Muirhead’s LCA is 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.

This long-term commitment to responsible and sustainable manufacturing has been driven by a series of multimillion-pound investments implemented over the past 20 years, with initiatives such as the patented Thermal Energy Plant (TEP) and Water Treatment & Recycling Plant (WTRP).

Muirhead achieved its carbon footprint without any carbon offsetting, while all data published is third-party accredited by BSI and independently verified according to the ISO14016, Environmental Reporting Standard.

“As we continue to build on our industry-leading position by becoming the first high-performance leather manufacturer in the world to publish an independently verified lifecycle analysis (LCA), we are demonstrating that leather is a naturally sustainable product and that it should be produced in a responsible manner too,” said Dr Warren Bowden, head of innovation and sustainability at Scottish Leather Group. “We are fully committed to our long-term goals of achieving net-zero carbon emissions and zero waste to landfill by 2025. Our LCA is a powerful ‘carbon accounting’ tool for measuring how responsible our consumption of raw materials and our production of leather is, enabling a true and fair comparison against the impact of other products and materials. This rigorous measurement fully supports the strategic approach of the Scottish Leather Group and provides Muirhead’s customers, the world’s most respected prestigious global brands, with independently verified sustainability data.”

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,” said Dr Bowden. “Added to this, we are also working on a series of innovations, including bio-based alternatives to existing tanning agents and novel tannages which pioneer new techniques. 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.”

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Izzy has been part of the Business Jet Interiors International team since its second issue, and the editor since 2011. She also edits Auditoria and Railway Interiors International. Outside of work, Izzy is rediscovering her love of art by learning how to paint with watercolors.

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