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Successful Audits for Namibian Tanneries

Published: 17th Jan 2024
Author: By Deborah Taylor; MD; Sustainable Leather Foundation

Last year SLF was awarded a contract to work in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region, under the Joint Action Support towards Industrialisation and Productive Section (SIPS). Under the contract SLF implemented a 5 step programme to support the tanneries in the region with training and audit certification to meet international standards:

During the initial contract term of May to November 2023, SLF provided training workshops aimed at increasing capacity-building on sustainability and best practices, followed by pilot audits carried out in chosen tanneries located in the SADC region, initially in Tanzania and Namibia. The pilot audits allowed SLF to evaluate local procedures, capacities, and performance and, based on the results obtained, training plans were implemented. In November 2023, the first formal audits were conducted at two facilities in Namibia, Meatco and Nakara, both receiving certification across all three modules of ESG.

We are delighted to confirm that the project has been extended until 31st May 2024 with 3 additional countries now included within the remit: Madagascar, Mauritius, and Zimbabwe.

A 2-day workshop will take place in Zimbabwe during February, followed by preliminary gap audits in 5 nominated tanneries.

Following delivery of improvement plans for action during March and April, SLF will then return to the tanneries to perform formal audits during May.

The success of this project is knowing that the tanneries already involved have been able to do this work independently and are achieving internationally recognised standards in the process.

For more information about the project please email the Foundation at

Are You Ready?
ESG and Sustainability have been buzz words and terms that have floated around the leather industry for a few years now, but in many places, there is still confusion and apathy about why it is needed, what to do and how to do it?

Why is it needed?
The introduction of EU Directives and other country level legislation means there is no longer a question of why – brands, retailers and OEMs will be legally required to report on their supply chain responsibility, risk and mitigation and they will be coming upstream to their suppliers for evidence that they meet the international standards expected across not just environmental good practice but also social and governance good practice (E, S and G).
Some of the key Directives and Regulations:

The EU CSRD (European Union Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive) replaces the non-financial reporting that companies have been doing. It is a reporting system that will affect anybody that works with companies in the EU. Phased in from 2024 to 2028, this Directive will have far reaching implications for the leather value chain.

The EU CSDDD (European Union Due Diligence Directive). This Directive is aimed at ensuring that those same companies are actively performing due diligence within their supply chains – and that means the upward requests to leather manufacturers and traders to make sure that they are all complying with ESG good practice.

The EUDR (European Union Deforestation Regulation). From this year, companies that operate in EU will have a duty to demonstrate that any forest-risk commodity imported to the EU is deforestation free. Forest risk commodities included rubber, soy, palm oil, coffee, cocoa, wood products and cattle and beef products. For our industry, the Regulation specifies raw hides, wet blue, crust, part-processed and finished leather, and this means that all actors will have to be able to demonstrate robust traceability if they want to work as part of a supply chain that includes companies operating in the EU.

The EU GCD (European Union Green Claims Directive). This incoming Directive will mean that all claims made by a company must to evidenced and verifiable. It is designed to stop greenwashing (or blackwashing) so that consumers better understand the impacts of the products they buy.

What to do?
Understand your risks and your part in the bigger value chain that you operate within. Before you can act you need to understand your current position. Allocate a responsible person to learn about the implications of the legislation and directives and how you could be impacted.

How to do it?
At SLF we have developed a toolbox of Information Guides, Pathway Papers, Templates, and Standards and Benchmarks to help companies navigate their future responsibilities and enable them to meet the requirements of the brands, retailers and OEMs in the future.

You can read more about it here: Are You Ready? – Sustainable Leather Foundation

We recommend the following steps:

SLF exists to directly support the leather value chain to demonstrate its existing good practice and to guide continued sustainable development. That work does not come for free but we are not a profit making company. We only require the commitment of the companies we support to fund our work – without that we cannot provide the service that the industry needs.

For more information please visit the website:
or email

Wishing all the S&V readers a very Happy, Healthy and Prosperous 2024!


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