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Deforestation-Free Call to Action for Leather

The Deforestation-Free Call to Action for Leather is a collective action that asks brands and retailers to commit to sourcing bovine leather from deforestation/conversion-free supply chains by 2030 or earlier.

The call to action is led by Textile Exchange, Leather Working Group,and World Wildlife Fund (WWF). The initiative was developed with input from the NGO Advisory Group (including the Accountability Framework initiative (AFi), National Wildlife Federation, and Conservation International). Since the public launch in June 2023, there are 21 signatories representing the fashion, footwear and automotive sectors.

The call-to-action framework:

  • Drives action across signatories' own supply chains by setting company expectations.
  • Provides direct support to signatories through tools and guidance development.
  • Creates an enabling environment by raising awareness across the supply chain and alignment on efforts across different topics and industries.

Technically robust tools and guides form an important basis of support to signatories. These include a policy guide, a supply chain mapping guide, an investment guide, the Supplier Engagement Guide and the Reporting guide. Upcoming guides include the risk assessment and prioritization guide.

The AFi Backbone Team provided technical support to align the call to action and its corresponding guides with the Accountability Framework.

The Policy Guide recommends that companies set a public commitment to leather sourcing that is deforestation- and conversion-free and respects human rights, aligned with the Accountability Framework. This includes the expectation that this commitment applies to all stages of the company’s leather supply chain. In addition, companies are encouraged to employ the Framework’s Definitions and its guidance on cut-off dates for no-deforestation and no-conversion, target dates for fulfilling commitments, and grievance mechanisms that follow the effectiveness criteria of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights.

The Supply Chain Mapping Guide supports all signatories to implement their public commitments in alignment with the Accountability Framework’s best practice guidance around traceability and supply chain mapping.

The Investment Guide uses the Framework’s definitions for deforestation, no-deforestation, conversion and no-conversion.

Together, the guides support companies in the leather industry to take the necessary steps to eliminate deforestation and conversion from their supply chains. Their alignment with the Accountability Framework means that Call to Action signatories can be confident that their actions are in line with international norms and best practices around setting and implementing ethical supply chain commitments. The AFi Backbone Team is continuing to support the Call to Action as additional guides and resources are developed.

"Companies in the leather sourcing and retail sectors can have a substantial impact on ending deforestation and conversion in the leather supply chain. By joining the Deforestation-Free Leather Call to Action and following its guidance, companies can set and implement commitments aligned with the Accountability Framework with confidence that these are aligned with other stakeholder expectations and best practice for their suppliers in the cattle supply chain. Working with the AFi Backbone Team was a huge source of support to us in creating the Call to Action.”

- Anne Gillespie, Director of Impact Acceleration, Textile Exchange

“By aligning through the Deforestation-Free Leather Call to Action, brands can have a positive impact on driving sustainable practices at a greater scale. The call to action’s guides show companies how they can achieve greater traceability, visibility, and improved communication within the long and complex supply chains, in alignment with the Accountability Framework. Collaboration with the AFi Backbone Team on these guides was essential to ensure that they were practical, actionable, and aligned with broader stakeholder expectations.”

- Christina Trautmann, Director of Sustainability, Leather Working Group

“By implementing strategies and approaches that provide visibility in their complex supply chains, leather companies and brands can help to ensure that the responsibility protecting of forests and ecosystems, is shared more equitably across the supply chain. The Deforestation-Free Leather Call to Action aligns companies sourcing leather to common goals and approaches, increases collaboration and collective action, and supports companies in their transition to establishing verifiable DCF supply chains.”

- Fernando Bellese, Senior Director of Beef and Leather Supply Chains, World Wildlife Fund

“Industry transformation within the leather sector is a collective endeavour, one that cannot be achieved by a single company. The strength of this collaborative effort lies in its ability to 1) foster collaboration and knowledge exchange among supply chain actors, NGOs and industry experts; 2) create linkages across different sectors and with on-the-ground projects/ initiatives; and 3)develop technically robust tools and guidance, empowering signatories to enact meaningful change. The AFi Backbone Team’s strategic advice has proved invaluable throughout the journey, particularly when building on their existing guidance and adapting it to the leather context.”

- Pavithra Ramani, Senior Advisor, Deforestation-Free Call to Action for Leather, Textile Exchange

Additional information can be found here:

Deforestation-Free Call to Action for Leather
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