The Sustainable Leather Foundation (SLF) has recently awarded Austan Limited and Picard (Bangladesh) Limited an "audit certification".
During the week of 28 February to 3 March, seven tanneries in Savar had their water and power supplies turned off by the Department of Environment while SLF was in the area auditing the two companies, said the official website of SLF.
The SLF Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) audits were conducted at both the tannery and the product manufacturing facility.
Picard (Bangladesh) Ltd is a product manufacturer with an audit and listing on the SLF Transparency Dashboard.
Managing Director Deborah Taylor conducted the audits, with her co-auditor, Zain Akber.
Deborah Taylor said, "The external perception of the leather industry in Bangladesh is entirely based on the historic pollution of Hazaribagh and now the current pollution in Savar. Little to no coverage is given to the facilities who are performing to good standards, and I am convinced that Bangladesh has the capability to rewrite its reputation and become a real contender on the international market."
"However, we need the tanneries in Savar to up their game in terms of working on all those elements of sustainable good practice that are within their control. This also includes responsibility for external industries that support the facilities such as solid waste removal – knowing that the waste isn't being dumped where it can add to the environment pollution. Then we can encourage and work with the government to assist with the malfunctioning CETP to support the transition from a highly polluting area to a compliant, environmentally responsible tannery district," she added.
Ibnul Wara, managing director of Austan said, "SLF takes a thorough and an inclusive approach towards setting high industry standards for the leather sector. We are proud to be the first SLF certified tannery and product manufacturer in Bangladesh. As members, we are committed to a continuous improvement process working closely with the SLF team."
Zain Akber, a leather industry consultant and SLF auditor commented, "I have been impressed with the two facilities we have audited in the region. The level of knowledge that the responsible personnel at these sites had, meant that we were able to trust that these facilities were not just "audit prepping" but that they were using the sound principles of environmental and social good practice on a daily basis."
Tanneries in Savar are expected to start demonstrating compliance in order to prevent further closures by the DoE and to gain valuable support from the SLF in development and good practice.