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Pangea focuses on sustainable leather
The West Australian

Pangea focuses on sustainable leather

Olga de Moeller
August 12, 2023

Toyota, Mercedes and Stellantis brands are just some of the carmakers using leather from one of the oldest workshops in the US as pressure mounts on manufacturers to show their sustainability credentials.

Michigan-based Pangea says it’s hitting major targets, including Leather Working Group (LWG) certification for its manufacturing sites and publication of an inaugural sustainability report as it turns to focus on energy management over the next two years to reduce carbon emissions and reduce water use.

Pangea leather swatches.
Pangea leather swatches. Credit: Supplied

Notably, it has received a Toyota Motor North America “Excellent Technology & Development Award” in 2022 for the 3D surfacing effect on its patented-technology leather used on the front and back seats of the 2023 Lexus RX — and has been supplying the badge for decades.

Pangea says it’s also supplying leather for the new Hyundai Sante Fe, which is arriving in Australian showrooms in the first half of 2024.

The company, which started as Byron Tanning in Roxbury, Massachusetts, in 1832, has added to its business over nearly two centuries to eventually rebrand as Pangea in 2021.

At the time, Pangea president and chief executive Randy Johnson said the goal had been to select a name that “embodied connectedness”.

Pangea president and CEO Randy Johnson.
Pangea president and CEO Randy Johnson. Credit: Supplied

“The literal translation of Pangea is that we are all connected — reinforcing our philosophy that our name and product connects to the earth and to our global team of artisans who make it,” he explained.

Pangea is quick to point out its leather is “waste from another industry” and “a 100 per cent upcycled material”, with Tim Lieckfelt, executive vice-president of global purchasing, telling West Wheels: “We visit the abattoirs to ensure our quality standards for raw hides are being met (and) we recently added a global director of supplier development to drive both our and LWG standards throughout the supply chain.”

The LWG was formed in 2005 as a collaborative initiative between footwear, apparel and upholstery brands and leather manufacturers, including Adidas, Clarks, Nike, New Balance and Ikea, to encourage responsible leather production with greater supply-chain transparency and minimal environmental impact.

Its auditing and certification standards are regularly updated and cover all elements of leather production, including environmental management, traceability, chemical management and social responsibility.

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