Scottish Leather Group, the largest manufacturer of bovine leather in the United Kingdom, produces specialist leathers for a wide range of industries including furniture, marine, automotive and aviation. The company has implemented a range of process and building related energy efficiency measures and their concerted efforts have resulted in an annual emissions reduction of over 3,000t CO₂ ,equivalent to a 46% decrease, and annual savings of £900,000 ($1.4 million), despite increased production volumes.

The successful implementation of the company’s energy efficiency programme was highly commended by the Carbon Trust. Investment in a Thermal Energy plant at the company’s main Bridge of Weir site, converting waste from the leather making process into fuel to generate renewable heat for direct reuse in production, was particularly commended for the ambition, innovation and exemplary environmental performance which this demonstrates.

Paul Wedgwood, manager of Carbon Trust Scotland, said: ‘Scottish Leather Group should take extreme pride in this accolade. The company’s comprehensive and considered approach is not only increasing efficiency and making cost savings, it is setting new standards for sustainability in the entire leather industry. The commitment to investment in their thermal energy plant has been visionary. Meanwhile, they continue to deliver through a range of energy management projects and practices across the business.’

Scottish Leather Group is comprised of four leather manufacturing subsidiaries, all located in the west of Scotland: Andrew Muirhead and Son, Bridge of Weir Leather Company, W J and W Lang, and NCT Leather, with a support and services company, SLG Technology. The Group’s environmental strategy is executed by all of their 550 employees, ensuring all understand the objectives and any responsibilities they have in respect of energy management.

Dr Warren Bowden, Director, SLG Technology, said: ‘It is a great honour to accept the 2012 Carbon Trust Energy Efficiency in Manufacturing Award on behalf of the Scottish Leather Group. The world leather industry’s first Thermal Energy Plant opened at our Bridge of Weir site in 2010. It shows how we stand out as an innovator and is enabling us to produce leather sustainably and market our unique brand of Low Carbon Leather to customers such as Aston Martin, Jaguar, Land Rover, Volvo, British Airways, Emirates and Vertu. We are very proud that our investment in environmental technologies has delivered reduced carbon footprint, energy savings, new customers and prestigious awards such as this from the Carbon Trust.’