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Sustainability research in the leather industry: A critical review of progress and opportunities for future research

Omoloso, Oluwaseyi, Mortimer, Kathleen, Wise, William R., Jraisat, Luai
Journal of cleaner production 2021 v.285 pp. 125441
developed countries, developing countries, leather, leather industry, literature, managers, manufacturing, research, researchers, social sustainability, sustainable manufacturing
Sustainability research continues to receive significant attention in academia, service and manufacturing industries. In a manufacturing industry like leather, research has played a significant role in accelerating the adoption of sustainable manufacturing practices. As sustainable operations attainment itself is deemed a journey rather than a destination, synthesising present research could assist in forging future research paths in the journey ahead. Hence, this study aims to identify trends and opportunities for future research in sustainability research in the leather industry. This is achieved through a comprehensive literature review of peer-reviewed journal articles related to sustainability in the leather industry. Key findings include a significant increase in triple bottom line related sustainability studies in the leather industry in the past four years compared to the previous 15 years combined. Contrary to prevailing notions, there is more sustainability research in developing/emerging country contexts than in developed country research contexts. While it is not surprising that economic and environmental sustainability-related research dominate, present social sustainability research is found to be mostly skewed towards health and safety themes while other relevant themes such as diversity and inclusion are under-researched. Results from the study can guide researchers on opportunities for future research and facilitate the understanding of industry managers on key areas of sustainability to focus on in the leather industry.