NARANGBA-based tannery Packer Leather is celebrating after being recognised for the family's outstanding work at the International Tannery of the Year Awards.
Established in 1891 and with five generations behind it, Packer Leather was short-listed out of an initial candidate list of 50 companies, which was then culled to just 12 finalists worldwide.
Employing 100 staff locally, the Narangba factory already carries an internationally recognised silver status for sustainable environmental processing, and was chosen through an extensive assessment program focused on social responsibility.
The tannery was judged based on the company's innovation, environmental practice, employee welfare, relationships with clients and community involvement.
Packer Leather joint managing director Lindsay Packer said it was an honour and surprise to be short-listed as one of two Asian finalists.
"We were surprised to hear of our inclusion in the award, as a company can't nominate itself and the nomination has to come from someone else in the industry worldwide," Lindsay said.
"It means someone around the world has recognised something in us, and coming in secondary to the other Asian finalist - it's a bit of friendly competition."
The finalists were reviewed by an international panel and the final judging took place at the Shanghai International Leather Fair last month.
"We were up against the other Asian finalist and two other tanneries, and despite missing out on the main award, our team was grateful for the experience."
Lindsay said being a finalist was an achievement in itself.
"Each finalist has to show a strong commitment to social responsibility and the very best environmental practice.
"Being short-listed is great recognition for the work our team does day in, day out."
With a strong commitment to creating high-quality Australian-made leather goods, Packer Leather is recognised worldwide for its kangaroo products.
"Kangaroo leather is the only sustainable natural leather and is renowned for its strength and light weight," Lindsay said.
"We source the majority
of our bovine leather from NSW, with our kangaroo coming in from all over Australia."
The Packer family now has an extensive range of leather which is exported worldwide to be used for sporting and accessory goods such as gloves, sporting equipment, bags and footwear.
"You've got to pinch yourself sometimes, to think a little company north of Brisbane is involved with some of the major players and we've been doing it for a number of years - it hasn't happened overnight.
"The bovine and kangaroo leather we use both have their merits; their qualities are brought out within the product they are destined for."
Lindsay said the family company had continued to develop and establish itself after relocating in the 1970s.
"I guess we were just following a dream and we weren't exporting then, but it soon became apparent that, if you weren't exporting, your days were numbered.
"I am proud to be Australian made and we will keep the factory here."