Stahl and PUM: a partnership built on a shared vision on sustainability

In March 2016 Stahl and PUM joined forces to create a more sustainable leather industry by promoting self-help and increasing local employment in selected countries. Stahl technicians are sent to the identified countries via PUM and these experts contribute their skills, knowledge and network to the leather segment there. The focus is on clusters and communities where the leather industry is struggling to survive, for example in Africa, Asia, Latin America and Eastern Europe. 

PUM Netherlands senior experts (PUM) is a non-profit organization founded by Dutch employers’ organization VNO-NCW in 1978. PUM supports small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) in selected countries by deploying senior experts (all volunteers) for repetitive short-term advisory missions on the work floor. By sharing their knowledge over time these senior experts take the entrepreneurs to the next level, improving their business performance and creating paths for sustainable growth and job creation. PUM serves 2,000 SMEs per year in 70 countries and 80 industries, through hundreds of partners and within programs financed by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs and other donors. 

Positive contribution to employment
In July and September of 2017, leather experts from Stahl traveled to Zimbabwe with PUM staff, in a joint mission. Michael Costello, Stahl’s Director of Sustainability, believes this partnership can make a lasting and positive contribution to communities: “The knowledge and skills of PUM on development cooperation coupled with the technical skills of our leather experts, can help the local leather entrepreneurs prosper and create employment.”  

PUM’s Sector Coordinator Textile & Leather Industry Hans Akkerman is also positive about all the possibilities this partnership brings: “Working together with Stahl has filled the almost non-existing expertise on the subject of tanneries within PUM. Now, we can implement projects that reach the entire value chain of farmer, abattoir, tannery, wastewater treatment and the leather processing industry. Already, several countries have expressed their interest in our joint approach. Through Stahl, we now have the state-of-the-art-technology that is fully in line with the current CSR objectives. This allows us to create added value for the SME sector in both developing countries and our own country.” 

Together with the Dutch NGO Solidaridad, PUM and Stahl are also preparing a major project in India. Michael Costello: “The waste water derived from tanneries in the Kanpur region contributes to the pollution of the river Ganges, something that needs to change. That is why Stahl co-finances this project, and makes sure its own people –including Indian employees- are deployed for this project. They will provide dedicated training, promote cleaner technologies and will make recommendations that reduce water pollution.” 
Do you have questions regarding this topic: please don't hesitate to contact us