George Shoes becomes the first leather company based in Ethiopia to receive a GOLD audit award for a Leather Working Group (LWG) certification. LWG certification is an international leather tannery audit ensuring environmental compliance. With the increasing environmental concerns in the world and specifically in the fashion business, having this certification is becoming a necessary requirement for leather producers to stay in the global leather business and access new/better-paying markets.
Enterprise Partners (EP) has been supporting local tanneries who are pursuing LWG certification in order to secure and sustain their global market share. EP financed the technical services of an international LWG advisor to partner tanneries as well as the Federal Leather Industry Development Institute (LIDI). EP also shared the cost of facility and laboratory improvement activities in selected tanneries. This has resulted in increased awareness locally and a number of tanneries that are working towards LWG audit and certification. Learning about EP’s work on LWG in Ethiopia, George Shoes has also been corresponding with EP seeking information regarding various permits and tests required for LWG.
EP in partnership with LIDI organized a learning visit to George Shoe for stakeholders on December 3, 2019 to facilitate interaction and experience sharing on the topic. The visit comprised representatives from Batu Tannery, Bahirdar Tannery, Elico Tannery and LIDI. The private sector participants, who said the visit was “an eye-opener,” inquired about the LWG process, including how to get permits, conduct third-party measurements, manage chemical inputs and process hazardous solid waste. The group further agreed to work together to improve the quality of leather produced and enhance competitiveness in global markets