VIBES Award: Good Practice


  • Taking a by-product of the beef industry and turning it into a high value product
  • Sourcing materials locally, to reduce carbon intensity of the final product
  • Water recycling, to eliminate impact on local water resources
  • On site energy generation, using by-products from their processes to decarbonise energy
  • 86% reduction in carbon intensity of their products, since 2003
Download the winners' story

The Scottish Leather Group demonstrates the belief that leather can be produced in an environmentally responsible manner, and substantial investment in this belief over the past decade has made the group the most modern and environmentally efficient leather manufacturer in the world. They source their raw materials locally, recover energy from their waste, minimise waste, use only renewable energy and find value in other industries for their co & by-products.

The raw materials used in the production of high value leather goods are the by-products of the beef industry. Scottish Leather Group source over 98% of their hides from within the UK and Ireland, reducing the transport mileage, and therefore the carbon emissions associated with this stage of the process. UK farming, which provides these by-products, is amongst the least carbon intensive of all global farming systems, with UK Agriculture approaching Net Zero.

The Scottish Leather Group operate a patented circular manufacturing process, which radically reduces its wastes going to landfill. This includes generating energy for their facilities, by recovering energy from the wastes and by-products of their manufacturing process. The thermal energy plant produces 15,000 MWh of energy per year for their facilities, and also generates 12,000 MWh as bio-oil.

Other energy requirements are met from 100% renewable sources.

Water is abstracted from Scottish Leather Group’s own loch and, using an ultrafiltration plant, they recycle of up to 40% of the water they use. This allows them to reduce the impact on the local water environment, which when returned to the same watershed after treatment reduces this to zero, according to life cycle analysis.

Scottish Leather Group produce products which, in turn, help customers reduce their own carbon footprints. They produce innovative lightweight leather products that save energy in the use phase, e.g for Electric Vehicles, mass transit, and can “take back” waste leather at end of life.

Their efforts have reduced the carbon intensity of their products by a remarkable 86% since 2003.

The Scottish Leather Group support local charities, by action and financially, including Families First, who have supplied activity bags and stationary required for home schooling over the past two COVID years. In addition, they have provided support to the NHS, by supplying visors and other protective equipment, throughout the pandemic. They are currently working with local schools, through STEM activities, employ apprentices, Saltire Scholars, and have an active Graduate and Postgraduate intake.