Challenges for the leather industry and our ESG approach

Aukje Berden, ESG Director

Royal Smit & Zoon has a well-known mission: “To create a socially and environmentally sustainable leather value chain, together.” In our annual ESG Report we share our goals and achievements – the drops that make a difference – and our ESG Roadmap 2025 that outlines our path towards that mission.

Challenges for the leather industry

The year 2025 approaches quickly and we recognize the urgency to update our roadmap to anticipate on challenges:

  • Challenges to our planetary boundaries. For example climate change posing a significant risk, directly affecting the food system on which we (and our business) depend;
  • Rising stakeholder expectations;
  • Demands for transparency and traceability on the environmental and social impacts across supply chains;
  • Reduction of CO2 emissions as a critical issue;
  • An unprecedented number of new laws and regulations for our industry driven by the EU and its’ Green Deal to make Europe climate-neutral by 2050. For example, the Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD).

Double Materiality Assessment

Recognizing the importance of updating our current ESG approach and roadmap, we have started our Double Materiality Assessment as required by the CSRD. This assessment involves engaging with our stakeholders worldwide to understand their perspectives on ESG topics, impacts, risks and opportunities that Royal Smit & Zoon should prioritize over the coming years. For example, we are holding in-depth conversations with a selection of our highly valued customers across the globe, industry associations and educational institutions. We are also organizing an online supplier and agent survey and will consult all our employees worldwide to learn from them where they think we can make the biggest difference and how they would like to contribute.

We will consolidate the output of the assessment into a matrix (Double Materiality Matrix), and use the focal topics, impacts, risks and opportunities identified for defining and setting priorities for our updated ESG Strategy. For us, this means we will go through a process late this year to update and define ESG objectives, targets and KPI’s, and steering later accordingly for execution and reporting.

The way forward

It is a challenging exercise, but we believe it is the only way forward. It has already brought us so many incredibly valuable learnings and insights. We are sincerely grateful to everyone who contributed thus far!

ESG is a journey of continuous improvement and collaboration, that can support our entire value chain in becoming more sustainable. So please also consider this as an invitation to engage with us on this path! Let us work together and leave a positive legacy for future generations.

The leather industry


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