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Muirhead Unveils £14 Million Super Tannery: the Future of Sustainable Leather

Aviation leather manufacturer Muirhead has opened its £14 million Super Tannery—a facility designed to produce the world’s lowest-carbon aviation leather.

Source: Muirhead

Elevating Sustainability Metrics

Nestled in Paisley, Scotland, Muirhead, which supplies numerous sectors, including aviation and passenger transport, celebrated the launch of its hyper-efficient Super Tannery. An outcome of seven years of ideation and execution, this facility reaffirms Muirhead’s commitment to sustainability.

Ribbon cutting at the new Muirhead Super Tannery. Source: Muirhead

The state-of-the-art Super Tannery is the latest in Scottish Leather Group’s major investments, anchoring their two-decade-long dedication to environmental innovation.

Revolutionizing Tanning Process

Tanning, the heart of leather production, witnesses a monumental upgrade. Replacing 30 conventional hide drums with 14 advanced super drums, Muirhead can now process larger batches with significant enhancements in environmental footprint. Thanks to cutting-edge hide processing techniques, the Super Tannery reduces energy consumption by 82% and water usage by 42%.

Source: Muirhead

Reimagining Sustainability Standards

Nicholas Muirhead, CEO of Scottish Leather Group, remarked, “Since 2003, we have continuously invested in strategic initiatives designed to optimize and improve productivity, quality, and sustainability. The new Super Tannery is the latest significant milestone on that journey. This state-of-the-art facility builds on the considerable savings we have already made in reduced energy and water use. It improves our efficiency and future-proofs our production. This will provide our customers with further evidence of our position as the leader in supplying the world’s lowest carbon leather.

Dr. Warren Bowden, Scottish Leather Group’s Head of Innovation and Sustainability, said, “Over the last 20 years, we have pioneered and patented circular manufacturing processes that minimize waste to landfill. We have radically reduced our carbon footprint with initiatives like Thermal Energy and Ultrafiltration plants. The Super Tannery builds on these sector-leading actions, providing a step change in productivity and environmental savings. Our sustainability journey is continuous. This new facility will be vital 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. That’s twenty years ahead of Scotland’s overarching net-zero ambitions. We’re also committed to delivering zero waste to landfill by the same year, further fortifying our sustainability pledges.”

Despite the boost in efficiency, the company ensures no compromise on quality by retaining its skilled technicians. Taking their circularity commitment a notch higher, they’ve resourcefully repurposed the outgoing wooden drums from the tannery. The new Super Tannery, now fully operational, will enhance Muirhead’s Life Cycle Analysis. It provides operators with an independently verified, quantifiable assessment of the leathers’ overall environmental impact. According to the ISO-accredited analysis, Muirhead’s 8kg CO2e/m2 LCA is currently the lowest in the world published for genuine leather.

Certifications & Accolades

Muirhead’s commitment doesn’t stop at manufacturing. Their recently unveiled 2023 ESG report underscores a remarkable 90% carbon intensity reduction over two decades. The company assures 100% supply chain traceability. Recognizing their relentless efforts, the Leather Working Group awarded Muirhead a ‘Gold’ certification. Muirhead’s ethical operations have international endorsements.

About Muirhead Leather

Muirhead’s leather products have been selected by over 160 global airlines, seating manufacturers, and European passenger transport operators. To dive deeper into their legacy and contributions, visit Muirhead.

Founded in 1965, Scottish Leather Group (SLG) is the leading leather manufacturer in the United Kingdom. The Group maintains responsible and sustainable production through its specialist businesses—Bridge of Weir Leather, Lang, and Muirhead. SLG serves the global automotive, aviation, bus, coach, rail, furniture, and consumer goods sectors. Its operations are located in Scotland, China, and Mexico.

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