Tapestry, a New York-based house of brands including Coach, Kate Spade, and Stuart Weitzman, says enhancing traceability of Brazil’s leather value chain will help drive a more sustainable future for the industry.

The WWF partnership is the most recent initiative in Tapestry’s ongoing efforts to support a responsible supply chain that other industries can also adopt.

The programme aims to combat deforestation in the Amazon and Cerrado biomes related to cattle-raising by accelerating the development of a standard to certify deforestation and conversion-free (DCF) leather originating from Brazil. Other portions of the grant will be dedicated to reforestation efforts in the highest risk areas of these biomes and work with on-the-ground community partners to help address the immediate threats that deforestation and climate change pose to local, vulnerable populations.

Tapestry and WWF will seek cross-industry partners to expand the scope and scale of the programme.

“As a global leader in luxury leather goods, we have and will continue to invest in leather traceability and build on the progress that’s already been made,” says Joanne Crevoiserat, CEO of Tapestry, Inc., and chair of the Tapestry Foundation board. “With this grant from the Tapestry Foundation, we reaffirm our commitment to addressing climate change through long-term sustainable solutions while also taking immediate action through reforestation initiatives. In addition, we are inviting other companies, both within and outside our industry, to partner with us in these efforts.”

Anne Gates, chair of the board of Tapestry, Inc, and member of the Tapestry Foundation boards, adds: “The Tapestry Foundation was founded to stretch what’s possible by investing in bold, community-based solutions that support social and environmental programmes focused on access and opportunity. Our partnership with WWF is an example of the collaboration that’s required to address the impact of climate change and the power of committing to solutions that drive meaningful impact to not just one specific sector, but across many industries.”

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Tapestry and WWF will foster a coalition of organisations dedicated to such traceability efforts and, alongside these organisations, plan to meet with leaders across industries in the coming months to build a comprehensive network to address the challenge.

“We believe the leather sector can and must establish a science-based, data-driven certification that goes beyond the processes currently in place. This programme will work alongside government agencies and other market stakeholders to construct a system to enhance traceability and provide a clear chain of custody,” says Mauricio Bauer, WWF senior director, beef and leather supply chains. “The Tapestry Foundation’s critical investment will help the industry work together to gather needed research and in the creation of a standard that works for both the environment and for local communities.”

David Wright, senior director, materials development and planning, Tapestry, Inc, adds: “Our team members have worked closely with WWF for over a decade and have a longstanding relationship with the Leather Working Group. We’ve also partnered with WWF, National Wildlife Federation and the University of Wisconsin to pioneer mapping and traceability of the leather supply chain from farm of origin to finished leather.

“As we started thinking about what more we could do, we quickly realised we had a shared vision. In tandem with our regenerative agriculture efforts, we can improve leather value chains at large and help to restore biodiversity in regions of the world most vulnerable to climate change.”

The announcement aligns with Tapestry’s commitment to minimising the company’s impact on natural resources by promoting biodiversity initiatives where the company operates.

It follows Tapestry’s partnership with the Savory Institute’s Land to Market Program, the verified sourcing solution for regenerative agriculture, which launched in January. By utilising regenerative raw materials that have a net positive impact on the environment, Tapestry aims to improve biodiversity and drive a reduction of carbon emissions.

Tapestry also announced in January it has completed a pilot as part of its work to achieve 95% traceability and mapping of its raw materials.