SCOTTISH Leather Group has said it is on course to be carbon neutral by 2025 after investing heavily in support of a drive to reduce emissions associated with its production.

The Bridge of Weir-based company said it has recorded a carbon footprint of 1.1 kilogram of carbon dioxide per hide, representing a 90 per cent reduction from 10.3kg two decades ago.

The company said the reduction reflected the benefit of the multi-million pound investment it has made in facilities required to turn its own waste into energy and to treat and recover water used in the production process.

The company, which supplies leather used in cars and aircraft, says all its hides are the by-product of the beef and dairy industries, with over 98% sourced in the UK and Ireland.

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It reckons its tannery uses 50% less water per hide than the industry standard. The water used in production is sourced from the company’s own loch. Some 40% of the water used is filtered and recycled. The remainder is treated and returned to original watershed.

The group developed a Thermal Energy Plant in which waste is converted into heat, avoiding the need for it to be sent to landfill.

It has formed a partnership with luxury goods firm Mulberry, whose range includes bags, under which end-of-life leather will be recovered for use as fuel. The company said this forms part of a pioneering take-back scheme, which will ensure that old leather contributes to the manufacture of new products.

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Warren Bowden, Sustainability and Innovation Director at the group said: “It is absolutely clear that sustainability is going to be at the core of decision making going forward and that a linear approach where waste ends up in landfill will not be accepted.

“Within the manufacturing industry in particular, there is a huge responsibility to act fast but there is also an opportunity ... to help to meet customer driven environmental targets.”

The Scottish Government has set a target for the country to achieve net zero in terms of carbon dioxide emissions by 2045, ahead of the 2050 target set by the UK Government.