Behind the scenes of Royal Smit & Zoon’s ESG Roadmap and reporting

Every year, Royal Smit & Zoon publishes their ESG report. What is the process behind it and why is ESG so important? Aukje Berden, ESG Director of Royal Smit & Zoon, explains more about this topic.

What does ESG mean to Royal Smit & Zoon?

To us, ESG means being a world-class, internationally recognized, responsible manufacturer, while continuously improving the footprint of our own operations and our business activities across our value chain, delivering sustainable solutions driven by innovation, and driving industry transformation by demonstrating thought leadership and being a catalyst in creating a more sustainable leather value chain.

As a 7th generation family business, it is evident that we are in it for the long run. Compared to most of our competitors, ESG therefore has a much more prominent role in our company strategy, because it has a direct link to future generations. We want to create a leather industry that is not only here today, but also for the generations to come!

This makes our mission – to create a socially and environmentally sustainable leather value chain, together – not just loose words, but something that is part of our DNA and lived upon in our daily business. Especially the “together’ part of our mission we consider crucial, as the key to progress lies in collaboration with our partners and stakeholders.

What role does the ESG report play in your ESG strategy?

Our ESG report is about ‘walking the talk’: a tangible result of our efforts, impacts, progress, ambitions and challenges!

It is a key means in fulfilling our mission as it provides transparency and accountability regarding our ESG performance. That also makes it an important tool for stakeholders – employees, customers, suppliers and regulators – to understand and share our practices and challenges in managing our ESG impact.

But our ESG report should be considered a step in a much bigger journey of ongoing sustainable business transformation and making the leather value chain more sustainable. That is what matters most.

And it all starts with the drops contributed by everyone at Royal Smit & Zoon. Without that, of course, you cannot make progress and a report!

Who do you make an ESG report for? It is compulsory?

Making an ESG or Sustainability report is not compulsory yet for Royal Smit & Zoon, but we consider it common good practice to publish such a report and be transparent about how you approach and manage your impact on the environment and people.

You have just launched the 2023 ESG report. What was the biggest challenge in 2023?

One of the biggest challenges was also one of the biggest achievements, namely the execution of our Double Materiality assessment, a crucial step in anticipating and addressing the requirements of the Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD).). We engaged 333 stakeholders across our value chain for this exercise.

It was a huge exercise, but above all it was very rewarding, valuable and insightful! My sincere thanks to everyone who contributed to this effort! Understanding the perspectives and needs of our stakeholders enable us to understand what is important to them and to improve our collaboration and create sustainable impact in the leather value chain. With the insights, we can now pinpoint strategic priorities for the upcoming years.

Double materiality means that you assess what material impacts the company has on the environment and people across its value chain and reversely, what ESG related impacts, risks and opportunities across the value chain may impact (the financial performance) of the company. We worked together with 2Impact Consulting on our double materiality assessment.

And what are you most proud of to have achieved?

Our EcoVadis Platinum rating. We consider it a good reflection of our leading sustainability performance, commitment, progress, efforts and impacts in creating a sustainable leather value chain as it covers many different areas (Environment, Human and Labor Rights, Ethics and Procurement) and many different layers (policies, actions, results (metrics) and targets). Coming from Gold in the past 2 years, it really demonstrates how committed we are to ongoing improvements. In the spirit of our mission, we want to continue to raise the bar in terms of sustainability, while collaborating for a future-proof leather industry.

I am most proud of all contributions made by everyone: Our Ecovadis Platinum rating is a collective effort and ESG a joint journey. It is truly integrated in our DNA and at the heart of what we do at Royal Smit & Zoon.

Focus on 2024: what are your goals?

We want to maintain our ambition as sustainability leader and we will advance our ESG Strategy throughout 2024 by developing our current ESG Roadmap 2025 into an enhanced ESG Strategy 2030.

This updated strategy should address global sustainability challenges and reflect our commitment to continuous improvement in aligning our activities with our mission. We want to make sure that ESG remains at the core of our strategy and is truly lived upon. Above all, we are keen to act and deliver on it as it is critical to ensuring continuity for our family-owned business and future-proof leather industry. At the same time, we recognize the importance of robust data to substantiate our achievements and aspirations.

Of course, we cannot do this alone: every drop counts and the key to progress lies in collaboration with all our stakeholders!

ESG and sustainability are truly integrated in our DNA and at the heart of what we do at Royal Smit & Zoon.

Have a look at our ESG Report

View report

Interesting for you

Discover more news

More news

Go to all news articles


Stay informed

Receive the latest company news and industry updates

Subscribe to our newsletter