Leather specialist Muirhead has announced the opening of a £14m ‘Super Tannery’ in Paisley, Scotland. The project represents a significant milestone in leather manufacturing and comes after seven years of concerted effort.
Backed by investment from parent company Scottish Leather Group, the state-of-the-art facility forms part of the group’s strategic 20-year vision to embed sustainable practices at the heart of its operations.
The process of tanning – where raw hides are transformed into durable leather using drums filled with tanning agents – is core to Muirhead’s business. The Super Tannery has introduced 14 ‘super’ drums, which have replaced 30 traditional hide drums. The result is an 82% reduction in energy consumption and 42% decline in water use when contrasted with the previous technology.
The Super Tannery will also support Muirhead’s ISO-accredited Life Cycle Analysis, which offers a transparent, quantifiable measure of the leather’s environmental impact. It reports that its 8kg CO2e/m2 LCA stands out as the lowest globally for authentic leather.
Nicholas Muirhead, Chief Executive Officer of Scottish Leather Group, comments: “Since 2003, we have continuously invested in strategic initiatives designed to optimise and improve productivity, quality and sustainability. The new Super Tannery is the latest significant milestone on that journey, a state-of-the-art facility that builds on the considerable savings we have already made in reduced energy and water use, improving our efficiency, and futureproofing our production. This will provide our customers with further evidence of our position as the leader in the supply of the world’s lowest carbon leather.”
Dr. Warren Bowden, the Group’s Head of Innovation and Sustainability, adds: “Our sustainability journey is continuous, and this new facility will play a vital role in enabling us to achieve zero impact leather manufacturing. We are committed to net-zero for our own operations (Scope 1 and 2) by 2025 – 20 years ahead of Scotland’s overarching net-zero ambitions – and delivering zero waste to landfill by the same year, further fortifying our sustainability pledges.”
The Scottish Leather Group’s recently published 2023 environmental, social and governance report provides an insight into its sustainable endeavours. Notable achievements include a 90% cut in leather carbon intensity over two decades and 100% supply chain traceability. The group has also been lauded with a ‘Gold’ standard by the Leather Working Group and received commendations for its ethical working standards from the Supplier Ethical Data Exchange (SEDEX).
Muirhead’s leather products are trusted by over 160 global airlines and a significant portion of European coach, bus and rail operators.