BMW Group Joins Leather Working Group for Sustainable Sourcing

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Bennett Oghifo

The BMW Group is underlining its corporate responsibility in the field of sustainability, by becoming the second automotive manufacturer worldwide to join the Leather Working Group. According to the automaker, the aim of the not-for-profit, multi-stakeholder organisation is to ensure uniform environmental and social standards for leather supply chains worldwide and to certify manufacturers. The Leather Working Group represents about a quarter of the world’s leather producers – from tanneries to leather-processing industries and associations to retailers and buyers.

“As a leader in supply chain sustainability, joining the Leather Working Group is the next logical step for us,” says Nadine Philipp, BMW Group’s head of Sustainability in the Supply Chain, Energy. She emphasised that: “Leather is still in demand from our customers – depending on the model and region – and is very important in the premium segment. That is why supporting sustainable production and processing of leather at our suppliers is a priority for us. At the same time, we still want all our customers worldwide to be able to choose the optimal product, so we also offer leather-free vehicle equipment options.”

The decision to join the Leather Working Group ties in directly with the BMW Group’s business alignment, with its focus on sustainability and resource efficiency. One of the BMW Group’s objectives is to create the most sustainable supply chain across the entire automotive industry. Sourcing leather from certified facilities is an important step on the road to achieving this ambitious goal.

As well as leather from certified suppliers, BMW Group also offers customers alternative interior materials

The BMW Group already sources all leather in the BMW iX from a certified manufacturer. The natural leather used is tanned in an especially environmentally-friendly process that relies on olive leaf extract. The BMW Group already offers leather-free alternatives, including textile options, Alcantara® and Sensatec. The company is also conducting research into resource-efficient leather alternatives, such as Deserttex®, which is made from cactus fibres, and the durable and fully recyclable plant-based Mirum®, from the startup Natural Fiber Welding, in which BMW i Ventures acquired a stake in 2021.