Nike and Timberland are among the companies who will be discussing setting up a working group to develop a standardised environmental auditing protocol for tanneries next month.

The talks are due to take place alongside the Asia Pacific Leather Fair which is being held at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre.

The forum is being managed by BLC Leather Technology Centre Ltd and the initial meeting will be open to all relevant tanners and footwear brands.

BLC says the standardised protocol will ensure tanneries comply with appropriate environmental, health and social guidelines. Other benefits include clear terms of reference for the tanners and brands, plus reduced costs and manpower requirements for both supplier and customer.

The meeting is to take place on Friday 8 April 2005 in room 207 of the HK Convention and Exhibition Centre from 1.15pm onwards.