“Sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.”
Integrity of operation is written through Pittards’ 200-year heritage, and a commitment to responsible manufacturing, independent certification and community engagement is at the heart of everything we do.
A road map to sustainable development cannot be routed via one initiative, rather our strategy mimics nature’s constant striving for equilibrium and is built on a balanced portfolio across the whole business.
- Ethical sourcing
- Efficient use of resources
- Responsible manufacturing
- A reduced carbon footprint
- Innovating for a circular economy
- Global certification
- Social responsibility
- Corporate governance
Pittards only uses hides and skins that are a by-product of the food industry and through versatile manufacturing turns them into leathers that can be used in a wide range of products, from gloves and footwear to apparel and upholstery.
It is estimated that over 10m tonnes of waste from the global food industry could go to landfill if the leather industry did not recycle hides and skins into leather.
In the UK, our hides are predominantly sourced from the UK and Ireland, traceable to slaughterhouse. We only acquire hides that come from abattoirs legislated by, and independently inspected by UK Government officials. Ethiopia does not intensively farm and therefore hides, and skins are a by-product of small herds and flocks that are consumed locally for meat; therefore, we work with trusted traders for the supply of our raw material. Pittards is party to UK and EU legislation on due diligence that protects against deforestation. Pittards does not source from areas deemed at risk of deforestation.
We make leather using raw material from sheep, goats and cattle (bovine) and where possible source those raw materials in-country for both our UK and Ethiopian divisions. This makes for low leather manufacturing miles and helps reduce the overall carbon footprint of the finished leather.
Efficient use of resources
Pittards finished product manufacturing works with a design and development strategy that specifies the further utilisation of left-over pattern pieces into product, minimising waste and adding value. The first of a planned line being marketed as Pittards rePurposed reuses the smaller pieces left from the production of work gloves in an innovative pattern combination to create a whole new style.
Pittards employs a system of continuous improvement in reduction of waste and stringent control of materials. We manage our own effluent in both the UK and Ethiopia to return clean water to the environment. Solid waste is segregated, with a longer term commitment to recycle and repurpose materials, reducing the amount that goes to landfill. As part of an ongoing review, wherever possible we are removing the use of virgin plastic across our business, from administrative space through manufacturing and onward shipping. We aim to reduce our waste generation by 20% by 2025.
Pittards UK and Ethiopia both have access to a natural water supply, reducing their call on the resource of mains water. Water from production is cleaned and recycled, the result being a low net water usage that returns over 98% of water back to the environment. Our target is to reduce water consumption by 20% by 2025.
Our commitment to product innovation means that Pittards has long been a leader in the elimination of sensitive and environmentally persistent chemicals, such as Azo dyestuffs. We set the benchmark with its PFC (poly-fluorinated chemicals) free WR100 water resistant technology for the outdoor market ahead of the textile industry. Longevity of purpose is recognised as being central to creating sustainable products and our technical leathers are engineered with their benefits, such as water resistance, fire retardant and grip enhancement permanently tanned-in requiring no further resources to maintain their durable performance. The WR100 protective process that is at the heart of all Pittards technology helps keep leather soft, extending comfort and usable product life.
Decades of experience in achieving environmental compliance with brand partners RSL (Restricted Substances Lists) and working with the ZDHC (Zero Discharge of Hazardous Chemicals) framework places Pittards well to manage complex manufacturing requirements though environmentally sensitive processes. As part of our ongoing commitment to responsible manufacturing we work with chemical partners that take a strategic approach to reducing environmental impact and work with a stringent Manufacturing Restricted Substance List (MRSL) that identifies substances that are undesirable to work with, not just for the present but for the future too. Ongoing partnerships allow us the opportunity to engineer our high performance leathers with an increased renewable carbon content.
A reduced carbon footprint
Pittards has a continuous objective of impact reduction, projects through the last twelve months include capital projects to replace less efficient electric items such as older light fittings being replaced with LED fittings. We have reviewed our working practices such as our travel policy, encouraging increased use of video conferencing, non-motorised transport, and car sharing (COVID-19 restrictions compliant). We are careful to optimise factory operational time, closely matching it to our capacity requirements. Our target is a further 10% reduction in the output of carbon by 2025
Sourcing raw material locally in the UK and Ethiopia, together with extending production expertise in both countries to include finished leather goods, apparel, gloves and footwear provides vertically integrated supply chain solutions that reduce transport cost and manufacturing miles.
Longevity of Purpose
Recycling at the end of life is only one point in working towards circular responsibility. Design today begins with end-of-use and end-of-life considerations.
Our intention is to create low-impact repairable products and materials with longevity, that have component reuse built into their manufacture, working towards zero waste; in a way that can add real value to a circular economy.
In the UK, partnership with the local Bridgwater College has helped create apprenticeships that will help perpetuate the skills of leather making and project-based initiatives with the University of Northampton plus London College of Fashion have provided paid internships for young designers and developers. Our finished product manufacturing in both the UK and Ethiopia has [...]
In Addis Ababa we work with charities such as Bravehearts Ethiopia and GOAL to find a way into work for disadvantaged people, providing skills training an advancement opportunities. We were early adopters of the UK Government Kickstart scheme that helped long-term young unemployed, severely impacted by the pandemic, to find a way into work, gaining skills and experience.
Our team planted our extensive tannery grounds with 1,000 trees to celebrate the Ethiopia Millennium in 2007 and now enjoys the crops of coffee, mangoes and avocados they produce, together with honey from the beehives that share the rich environment. The grounds support a range of insects, birds and larger animals. In 2019 we planted a further 7,500 trees as part of a national scheme to plant over 200 million seedlings in one day. The initiative was part of a wider government reforestation scheme that has a target to plant four billion trees as currently, less than four percent of the country's land is forested.
In Ethiopia Pittards looks after its workers and their families with an in-house clinic at the tannery. Since its inception in 2005 this facility has helped a significant number of employees during illness. Improved worker health led to increased efficiencies, with the result that pay and living standards were also uplifted. Further support for the wider community is through local school funding that provides educational materials, prizes for progressive achievement and finances the building of new classrooms. Working to support youth through sport, we sponsor a football team in Addis Ababa. It has been a joy to watch the team grow through participation, culminating in them being crowned the U18 2020 city champions in 2021.
Sustainable Development Goals
- Carbon decrease of 10% by 2025
- Waste generation and water consumption decreases by 20% by 2025
- Grow our apprenticeship programme
- Continue building more classrooms in Ethiopia
- Continue planting trees, building on the 12,000 already planted
- Establish self-generated renewable energy
- Develop a Repurposed Leather range of leather goods
- Develop a leather goods repair facility
Pittards is committed to ensuring that colleagues are treated equally, regardless of gender, sexual orientation, religion or belief, age, mental status, social class, colour, race, ethnic origin, creed, disability, political or philosophical beliefs, or marital or civil partnership status. Through the Group’s equal opportunities policy, it aims to create an environment that offers all colleagues the chance to use their skills and talent. Decisions on recruitment, training, promotion, and employment conditions are based solely on objective, job-related criteria, and personal competence and performance. The Group seeks wherever possible to make reasonable adjustments to ensure that a colleague who becomes disabled during his or her employment is able to continue working effectively.
Pittards meets and often exceeds local labour, manufacturing, shipping and warehousing regulation standards. Pittards is committed to conducting its business affairs to ensure that it does not engage in or facilitate any form of bribery or corruption in any parts of its supply chain or in interaction with other stakeholders regardless of geographical location. Expected standards of behaviour are outlined in the anti-bribery and corruption policy, which also provides guidance on the giving and receiving of gifts and hospitality.