Department store John Lewis is to exclusively use leather from farms that supply sister retailer Waitrose for its own-label sofas and chairs as the two retailers seek to better complement each other and operate sustainably.

John-Lewis, Waitrose

John Lewis will use leather from farms supplying Waitrose for its sofas

John Lewis said leather will be supplied by “higher-welfare farms” that provide Waitrose with beef.

The scheme follows an earlier tie-up between the department store and Waitrose following the launch in 2021 of “circular-design” John Lewis mattresses, which used wool sourced from Waitrose farms that would otherwise have gone to waste.

Marija Rompani, director of ethics and sustainability at parent 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 retailer said that in research conducted last month by OnePoll, 73% of shoppers said the welfare of animals produced for meat was important to them.

It added that a further 89% said it was also important to them to buy British-sourced products but “leather, and home furnishings in general, seemingly are the cause of an ethical blind spot”.

Rompani said: “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.”