Super Tannery: A generational leap in leather sustainability
For the past 20 years, Scottish Leather Group (SLG), the parent company of Bridge of Weir Leather, has continuously invested in strategic initiatives designed to optimise and improve productivity, quality and sustainability of leather production across all its brands.
The culmination of this multi-million-pound investment and years of commitment is represented by the opening of our industry-changing, hyper-efficient Super Tannery.
Located at our long-established home in Bridge of Weir, Scotland, the £14 million Super Tannery is a transformative leap in responsible leather production, setting new industry standards for sustainability and environmental stewardship.
At Bridge of Weir, we already produce the world’s lowest carbon leather for the auto sector; improvements in efficiency and sustainability from the new Super Tannery, which is now fully operational, feed into Bridge of Weir’s Life Cycle Analysis, currently a sector-leading 8kg CO2e/m2 on average, which provides car makers with an independently verified and quantifiable contribution to their Scope 3 reduction targets.
Advanced tanning equipment
A core focus of this investment has been hide processing technology, with tanning a pivotal aspect of leather production to provide the strong, flexible and durable quality characteristics necessary for the highest quality leather. Unlike previous equipment, the Super Tannery reduces the number of hide drums required from 30 to 14 while enabling larger batch processing. This technological leap results in a remarkable 82% reduction in energy consumption and a 42% reduction in water usage compared to previous methods. Furthermore, in a commitment to circularity, outgoing wooden drums from the tannery have been repurposed, minimising waste.
The Super Tannery will join our pioneering initiatives and patented circular manufacturing processes that minimise waste to landfill and radically reduce our carbon footprint, such as our Thermal Energy Plant [TEP] and Ultrafiltration plant.
The state-of-the-art facility builds on these sector-leading actions, providing a step change in productivity and environmental savings. Our sustainability journey is continuous, and this new facility will play a vital role in enabling Bridge of Weir to achieve zero-impact leather manufacturing. We are committed to net zero for our own operations (Scope 1 and 2) by 2025 – ahead of Scotland’s net-zero ambitions – and delivering zero waste to landfill by the same year, further fortifying our sustainability pledges.
The continuing expansion of our product offering through innovation and improvement of operational performance across the ESG agenda, in line with all the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs), reflects the passion we have for our products and the responsibility we hold as sustainable manufacturers.
Working towards net zero
Scottish Leather Group’s 2023 ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) report is a testament to showing our progress towards achieving net zero leather production by 2025 and how the business can directly support its customers’ sustainability targets.
The detailed report highlights a 90% reduction in the carbon intensity of our leather over the last 20 years, as well as 100% traceability of raw materials and 77% of waste recycled in 2022.
The group has been awarded ‘Gold’ from global standards organisation, Leather Working Group, in recognition of accomplishments in operations of key areas including staff performance, business structure, business resilience, and health and safety.
Further notable accreditations include endorsement of the group’s working practices by the Supplier Ethical Data Exchange (SEDEX), which assures ethical trading and compliance with international labour standards, while the group’s track record in health & safety was recognised for the 12th consecutive year by Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) Gold awards.
The new Super Tannery is the latest significant milestone on our journey. The ground-breaking facility builds on the considerable savings we have already made in reduced energy and water use, improving our efficiency, and futureproofing our production. This visionary investment cements Bridge of Weir’s position as the leader in the supply of sustainable Fine Automotive Leather for the world’s luxury car brands.
View and download our ESG Report 2023.