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PUM helps India clean-up Ganges

Consortium takes on ‘dirty’ challenge in leather industry 
 
In partnership with a leading chemical company (and PUM partner) Stahl, three leather associations in the Uttar Pradesh province, and led by Dutch NGO Solidaridad, PUM aims to contribute to the clean-up of one of the most polluted and over-used river basins in the world.

This five-year intervention is co-funded by the Sustainable Water Fund, a Dutch public-private sector partnership facility.  
 
There are 400 large and small tanneries in Kanpur, which together dispose of 50 million liters of water each day, with chemicals and leather waste. The existing purification plant is not only too small, but also not calculated on the removal of chromium, today the most widely used lubricant. As a consequence, millions of liters of untreated wastewater enter the Ganges. About 250,000 families are directly dependent on work in the leather sector. These are often people with few to no alternatives. Enforcing high environmental fines or closure of businesses would endanger the income of thousands of people. 
 
PUM and partners work on reducing water use and pollution by introducing new technologies and trainings at all levels. Improving working conditions is an important focus. Over the next five years we are working on new business processes and technologies that provide substantially cleaner waste water and 40% less discharge. Experts from PUM and partners will provide technical support, supervision and coaching to the tanning companies.  
 
This expertise includes the introduction of economically and technically viable solutions for the main issues undermining the sustainability of the sector. Even more, through this project a Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) base code will be formulated and introduced in cooperation with the participating associations.  
 
One key element PUM will bring to this project is the sustainability self-assessment tool for the tannery sector. This tool is based on several international sustainability standards (including LWG, SA800, ZDHC) for the sector and will help the tanning companies to assess their own position, identify areas for improvement and measure progress.  
 
This projects demonstrates PUM’s added value in a larger complex challenge, working together with different actors. Hence aiming to achieve more impact through a programmatic approach. To learn more about our Leather program in general, please contact Sector Support at sso@pum.nl.