By 2020, we’re aiming for 100% of our leather products to support Leather Working Group rated tanneries, ensuring better environmental practices.
A natural fibre that’s strong and durable, leather is one of the few materials that becomes more beautiful with age. Unique in nature, its natural characteristics allow each piece of leather to be different from the next.
We use this material for its impeccable quality, its timeless aesthetic and its ability to be used across a wide range of products. When looked after well, leather can retain its quality finish for years to come, supporting a slower fashion model.
To make it suitable for use in clothing and accessories, leather must be professionally tanned using chemical treatments. Without these treatments, it would fall apart. It’s this tanning process which can be polluting and dangerous for workers in the supply chain.
We partner with a number of reputable organisations to reduce the environmental issues surrounding leather.
Leather Working Group tanneries adhere to a strict protocol relating to environmental performance, such as energy and water usage, waste management and the control of restricted substances. Due to the complex nature of our supply chain, we are still working towards eradicating the use of leather from non-certified tanneries.
We require that all leather is sourced as a by-product of the meat industry, meaning we only use animal skins that would have otherwise gone to waste.
Country Road is involved in the Leather Working Group Animal Welfare Sub-Group and the Textile Exchange Beef and Leather Working Group, with the objective of partnering with a diverse range of stakeholders to address the complex issues within the leather and beef supply chain.
We also ban the use of all exotic animal skins and any endangered species which appear on the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) or the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species.
Cowhide is the natural skin and hair of a cow that turns into leather following the tanning process. It’s a versatile and durable material, popular for its hardwearing nature and beautiful texture. Cowhide is our most common source of leather, mostly appearing in our accessories and home collections.
Sheepskin is known for its softness and durability, while also remaining breathable. Being a natural fibre, sheepskin has minimal chemical irritants, which makes it hypoallergenic and suitable for human use. It’s also naturally resistant to the growth of mould, dust mites and bed bugs.
Country Road only uses sheepskin from certified Australian and New Zealand abattoirs. Each abattoir we work with has an onsite vet and animal processing inspector to monitor the procedures in place.
Polyurethane (PU) leather
PU leather is an artificial leather made from plastic, which makes it animal-friendly compared to traditional leather. Due to its plastic makeup, Country Road is exploring more sustainable alternatives to PU leather, including one made from a percentage of recycled materials.
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