Luxury goods group Kering, owner of the Gucci, Bottega Veneta and Saint Laurent brands, is backing a project to support the sustainable supply of crocodile skins in Madagascar.

Teaming up with the International Trade Centre (ITC), the multi-year programme aims to monitor and manage the trade in Nile crocodiles from Madagascar.

"At Kering we are focused on supporting sustainable production systems across our global supply chain and ensuring sustainable sources of raw materials," says Marie-Claire Daveu, chief sustainability officer and head of international institutional affairs.

"As this new market for sourcing is opening up, we are pleased to be able to support the capacity building that will underpin the implementation of best practices in management of crocodile conservation, sustainable use and trade in Nile crocodiles from Madagascar."

Crocodile skins are used for watchstraps, leather goods, ready-to-wear and shoes.

The formation of the Madagascar Crocodile Conservation and Sustainable Use Programme (MCCSUP) comes as trade in Nile crocodiles from Madagascar re-opens after the country introduced specific legislation for managing the species. The programme's goal is to support sustainable trade that contributes to economic opportunities, local livelihoods and the long-term conservation of crocodiles and their habitats.

Kering, whose brands also include McQ, Stella McCartney and Puma, last year acquired French crocodile skin company France Croco - and in January this year revealed plans to invest EUR15m (US$20.4m) in the construction of a new tannery to increase its production capacity.