Our friends at Leather Naturally told us about an interesting video, part of a series called ‘Sustainable Talks with N&N’. It features an interview with two companies that are promoting a system that provides complete traceability from cow to finished product.

Imagine that: being able to trace the leather in your shoe, bag or car seat back to an individual cow and finding out how it was raised, what it was fed on and, basically, if it had had a good life.

Full leather traceability

The tracing technology has been developed by SPOOR, an offshoot of the Danish leather supplier, Scan-Hide. When hides come from an abattoir, they include the ear tag the cow was given at birth. Having registered all the information from the tag, the SPOOR system uses laser technology to imprint each hide with a unique number which can then be used to access the full backstory of the animal. According to their website, “Unlike other methods of identification, our laser mark is resistant and stays on the hide throughout the entire tanning and refinement process to the final leather cut. In this way, we can guarantee that our rawhides come with 100% documented traceability all the way back to the farm.”

Being able to trace the source of leather right back to the farm could be a huge benefit for leather product manufacturers

Ethically sourced leather

Being able to trace the source of leather right back to the farm could be a huge benefit for leather product manufacturers – including those in the automotive industry. It enables them to show consumers who might have questions over animal welfare, for example, that their automotive leather has been humanely and ethically sourced. It could be a vital element in telling the real story of sustainable leather. As we have reported before, when it comes to leather for car seats, the issue of traceability is being taken very seriously and various routes are being explored to find viable and reliable ways to deliver it.

Birgitte Holgaard Langer, Business Development Director at SPOOR, says that their technology is a real game-changer: “Sustainability is not a destination. It’s a new way of collaborating, thinking, a way of finding solutions together through the value chain.”

SPOOR is an offshoot of Scan-Hide, Denmark’s last remaining tannery, which is run with a co-operative spirit and built on local heritage and unique craftmanship. Based on the island of Funen, it supplies rawhides internationally – each one with a unique story of sustainability to tell.

Watch the video here

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