In the UK, leather falls into two categories: leather made in the UK and leather used in the UK. Most of the leather made in the UK is made using domestic hides, which means a very short and transparent supply chain. The UK has some of the highest animal welfare standards in the world and we are one of only 5 countries to receive the highest current rating (B) on the World Animal Protection Animal Protection Index api.worldanimalprotection.org. Some tanners import raw materials from other places, but customer demands mean that they have to ensure the highest possible standards. The UK also has some the highest environmental, chemical, worker and consumer protection standards in the world and it is important to remember that tanneries and leather are subject to the same legislation as every other manufacturing industry.
87% of UK production is bovine leather. Of that, 54.9% (2019) is located in Scotland with the Scottish Leather Group, for automotive, aviation and upholstery. The next largest manufacturer in volume terms is Holmes Halls Processors in Hull, contract tanning wet blue, largely for the Italian market.
The UK tanners export about 80% of their production so much of the leather used in the UK, by companies like Burberry, Aspinal, Clarkes and so on, is imported. However, nearly 90% comes from EU countries or the USA, again meaning that it is made to very regulatory standards. Many tanners are also involved in voluntary standards, such as the Leather Working Group, to ensure that their leather is produced as sustainably as possible and to meet the demands of their customers.