More car companies than you might think take their vehicle’s leather from a small company based in Scotland. Bridge of Weir has been supplying hides for vehicle interiors since 1905 and it provided Ford with leather seats for the Model T built in Manchester. The association with Ford continues to the present, and Bridge of Weir leather is used in a huge variety of cars from Aston Martin to Volvo.
Aside from the quality of this leather, the reason so many car makers seek out this Scottish firm’s product is the environmentally sustainable way it’s produced. The hides are taken from beef cattle, so there’s far less waste than with cows bred purely for leather production. Karen Marshall, Managing Director of the company, says: ‘We’ve recently invested £6 million in a thermal energy plant which converts processing waste into heat and electricity, so the factory is completely self-sufficient for power.
“There is also a £1.3 million ultra-filtration plant that means 40% of the water used in the factory is recycled. It gives us the lowest carbon footprint of any leather maker in the world and the only one to earn the Low-Carbon Leather logo.’
Further evidence of Bridge of Weir’s commitment to cutting waste is how the hides are cut. Every processed hide is electronically scanned so the maximum number of pieces can be cut from it. After that, any section with enough material still left is also repurposed for small items such as door pulls, leaving very little unused leather.