John Lewis sofas to use leather sourced from Waitrose farms

Department store retailer John Lewis has announced that 100% of the leather used in its own label sofas and chairs will be from higher welfare farms in the UK that supply Waitrose beef.

Following on from the hugely successful circular design launch of John Lewis mattresses in 2021 that use otherwise wasted wool sourced from Waitrose farms, this new initiative is yet another example of how the John Lewis Partnership is bringing its two distinct businesses together.

The move is one of the many innovative ways the Partnership is actively reducing its environmental impact across supply chains, whilst creating beautifully designed, high quality products that are helping support British producers and built to last.

Marija Rompani, Director of Ethics & Sustainability at the John Lewis Partnership, said: “Running a department store and a supermarket gives us a unique ability to connect our two businesses and innovate. We saw an opportunity to use the leather being produced by our Waitrose farmers and use it to create beautifully crafted, high quality pieces of furniture that will last.

“By applying the same principles into our leather as we do with the products we stock on the shelf at Waitrose, we can offer the public a range of sofas and chairs using British sourced, higher welfare leather that’s distinct from anything else on the market.”

The leather also comes from British farms that supply Waitrose, with Waitrose’s farming supply chain consistently awarded Best Retailer for farm animal welfare by Compassion in World Farming (CiWF) four times in a row. And these are standards shoppers actively look for when making a purchase.

In an associated poll, 73% of shoppers said the welfare of animals produced for meat was important to them, with nearly nine in 10 (89%) saying it’s important to them also to buy British sourced items. But leather, and home furnishings in general, seemingly are the cause of an ethical blind spot – with 85% of adults admitting to own leather items but 80% saying they’ve no idea if their leather came from a British farm. Likewise, 62% don’t consider the welfare of the animal when purchasing leather and only 5% think about where the materials used to make their furniture have been sourced from.

Marija Rompani, adds: “Everyone has the right to a sustainable choice no matter what they’re buying, but what this research shows is there’s a lot more work to be done to help shoppers make informed choices when buying certain products.

“Whether it is everyday household staples or larger items, these all have a social and environmental impact – but knowing what to look for isn’t always as easy as it should be. This is why we try to source all key materials used for our products to more sustainable standards to make it easy for our customers to make more informed choices.”

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