Leather Impact Accelerator

What is the Leather Impact Accelerator?

The Leather Impact Accelerator (LIA) uses benchmarks to address animal welfare and deforestation/conversion-free at the farm level, the social and environmental impacts of leather processing, and to set expectations for traceability. Brands can use LIA to support best practices in the leather value chain and make credible claims about their actions.

LIA is not a standard – it is a benchmarking program that recognizes and rewards best practices in the leather value chain. To this end, LIA uses benchmarks to set a minimum threshold for practices and give recognition to those who meet or exceed them. Brands can use Impact Incentives to provide direct financial support to farmers that meet LIA benchmarks, and the Claims Framework provides guidance for all LIA participants to make credible claims.

LIA Components

LIA is comprised of six components which serve as tools that actors in the leather supply chain – from farmers up to retailers – may utilize to meet their company’s needs and contribute to a more sustainable leather supply chain. Click on each component to learn more.

Animal Welfare Benchmark

Deforestation/
Conversion-Free (DCF) Protocol

Traceability Guidelines

 Leather Production Benchmark

LIA Impact Incentives

Claims Framework

Benchmarking

The industry already has many standards, so a benchmark approach has been adopted to leverage and add value to the standards and programs that are already in use. In addition to benchmarking, we will evaluate traceability programs and the verification protocols.

Benchmarks set a minimum threshold for practices and give recognition to those who meet or exceed them. The LIA benchmarks will be included in the regular review process of LIA and the threshold levels may be adjusted to drive continuous improvement in the sector.

The Leather Impact Accelerator (LIA) uses benchmarks to address the areas of Animal Welfare, Deforestation/Conversion-Free (DCF), and Leather Production.

How to Participate

Brands & Retailers

Brands may interact with LIA in several different way. They may choose to source from LIA-approved suppliers or farms, purchase Impact Incentives, or participate in the LIA Brand Commitment. Finally, brands and retailers can use the LIA Claims Guide to communicate about their work with LIA.

Brand & Retailer Documents

LIA Brand Commitment

Brands will be able to make a public commitment to LIA and set targets. We suggest a 5 year target, but brands can choose the timeframe that works best for them, with a maximum of 10 years. This commitment is composed of the below 3 elements.

Purchase Impact Incentives at an increased amount per year, to match 100% of their hide use by the end of the selected timeframe (within 10 years maximum):

  • 20% of supply by year 1
  • 40% of supply by year 2
  • 60% of supply by year 3
  • 80% of supply by year 4
  • 100% of supply by year 5

Engage in mapping and implementing a traceability system in its leather production supply chain (below mapping is based on a 5-year timeframe, with the maximum being 10 years):

  • Identify all finishing suppliers (at a minimum, have the Company name and Address)
    • Confirm that suppliers in this tier are certified to a standard that meet the LIA environmental benchmark
    • Confirm that suppliers in this tier are certified to a standard that meet the LIA social benchmark
    • Confirm use of a system to track the identity of materials being sold to the brand (purchase orders will be sufficient)
  • Identify all post-tanning suppliers (as a minimum Company name and Address)
    • Confirm that suppliers in this tier are certified to a standard that meet the LIA environmental benchmark
    • Confirm that suppliers in this tier are certified to a standard that meet the LIA social benchmark
    • Confirm the use of a system to track identity of materials being sold to the brand. A list of recognized traceability systems can be found here.  
  • Identify all tanning suppliers (as a minimum Company name and Address)
    • Confirm that suppliers in this tier are certified to a standard that meet the LIA environmental benchmark
    • Confirm that suppliers in this tier are certified to a standard that meet the LIA social  benchmark
    • Confirm the use of a system to track identity of materials being sold to the brand. A list of recognized traceability systems can be found here.
  • Identify all beamhouse suppliers (as a minimum Company name and Address)
    • Confirm that suppliers in this tier are certified to a standard that meet the  LIA environmental benchmark
    • Confirm that suppliers in this tier are certified to a standard that meet the LIA social benchmark
    • Confirm the use of a system to track identity of materials being sold to the brand. A list of recognized traceability systems can be found here.
  • Identify all slaughterhouses (as a minimum Company name and Address)
  • Have all tiers mapped through to slaughterhouse (mapped and confirmed to meet LIA requirements)

Report progress towards the commitment by completing the leather module of the Textile Exchange Corporate Fiber and Materials Benchmark (CFMB) on a yearly basis.

Leather Production Suppy Chain

Leather production refers to the stages of processing leather from raw skin to finished hide. To meet the LIA requirements, a supplier must be certified to standards that meet the environmental and social benchmarks set by LIA.

Leather Production Scope Documents

In order to participate in LIA, leather suppliers must qualify by meeting the requirements:

  • Be certified to LIA Approved Standards that meet both of the environmental and social benchmarks. 

AND

  • Participate in a traceability program that tracks the purchase and sale of leather.

Note: Suppliers in the leather production supply chain will not be able to buy or sell Impact Incentives. 

Farms

LIA will offer farms the opportunity to be recognized and rewarded for the positive work they are doing in managing their animals and their land. The main form of financial reward will be through Impact Incentives; these are payments made by brands and retailers to farms that participate in LIA.

Farm Scope Documents

The LIA Farm Scope documents sets out the requirements for approved animal welfare standards, the deforestation/conversion-free protocol, and live animal traceability guidelines. 

In order to participate in LIA, farms must qualify by meeting the requirements:

  • Be certified to a standard that is approved to the Animal Welfare  benchmark.

AND/OR

  • Be verified to the Deforestation/Conversion-Free (DCF) protocol.

AND

  • Participate in a traceability program that tracks the purchase and sale of individual cattle.

AND

  •  Complete the Farm Questions

Standards Owners

The Leather Impact Accelerator (LIA) is not a standard – instead the intent of the program is to leverage and add value to the many standards and protocols that are already being used by the beef and leather industry.

LIA aims to be flexible and inclusive, while maintaining a high level and credibility and value for all users. To become recognized, standards and verification schemes must go through the Benchmark Approval Process and meet the Standard Assurance Criteria.

LIA currently sets benchmarks for the following scopes:

  • Animal Welfare
  • Deforestation/Conversion-Free (DCF)
  • Leather Production – Environmental
  • Leather Production – Social

Standards Benchmark Documents

Partner Programs

Partner Programs are initiatives that support a specific group of farmers to improve their practices and that commit to meeting the Animal Welfare benchmark and/or DCF protocol for LIA. These programs will be run by organizations such as NGOs or government bodies.

Partner Program Documents

Partner Programs must:

  • Be managed by a formal organization (with a national body or a registered NGO).
  • Demonstrate that they are mission-driven and pursuing goals that meet or surpass the expectations set out by LIA.
  • Have an administrative unit independent from the farms.
  • Commit to provide information on an annual basis.
  • Organize for third-party review of activities relating to LIA.
  • Demonstrate that they are supporting farmers to meet the benchmark requirements of LIA, including:
    • Participation in a traceability system
    • Animal Welfare and/or DCF
  • Make a formal commitment to LIA by signing the Letter of Intent (in development).

To participate in LIA, Partners Program must:

  • Set up an internal control system (ICS) that will support farmers to sell Impact Incentives.
  • Support farms in adopting a traceability system.
  • Engage a third-party verifier to review/report progress towards the goals of LIA.

Plus one or more of the following:

  • Support farms to maintain their DCF status.
  • Help to become verified.
  • Support them in improving their understanding of importance of forests and natural ecosystems.
  • Support them to develop financial resilience to maintain their forests and natural ecosystems (e.g.: silvo-pastural systems).
  • Support farms in becoming certified to an Animal Welfare standard that is approved through LIA (within 3 years).
  • Identify the Animal Welfare standard they will work towards.
    • If working with a standard not approved in the RL program, please share the LIA Benchmark Approval Process information with the standard owner.
    • After application is submitted and accepted, the Partner Program can register for Impact Partnership Incentives while waiting for standard benchmark approval.

Public Stakeholder Consultation #2: Now Open

We invite you to review the second draft of the Leather Impact Accelerator (LIA) 1.0 documents and give us your feedback. This public consultation is your chance to review the program and help guide the future of its benchmarks and protocols.

The public comment period will close on December 1st, 2020.

LIA 1.0 Release Timeline

Want to learn more?

We welcome you to contact us  with any questions you may have about LIA. If you would like to play a role in the development and review of LIA, we invite you to join the International Working Group. 

Pilot Programs

Piloting will soon begin for LIA benchmarking and Impact Incentives. For more information on participating in a pilot, please get in touch.

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