In January 2021, Ethical Consumer searched Wickes's consumer website, www.wickes.co.uk, for information on the company's products. The company sold a range of shoes and clothes made from real leather, such as work gloves, safety footwear, chamois leathers.
This was not considered to be a substantial part of Wickes' business so as s a slaughterhouse by-product, the company lost half a mark in the Animal Rights category.
Leather, as the hide of a dead animal, naturally decomposes. To prevent this decomposition the leather industry uses a cocktail of harmful chemicals including trivalent chromium sulphate, sodium sulphide, sodium sulfhydrate, arsenic and cyanide to preserve it. Tannery effluent also contains large amounts of other pollutants, such as protein, hair, salt, lime sludge and acids. These can all pollute the land, air, and watersupply making it a highly polluting industry. As a result the company lost half a mark in the Pollution and Toxics category.