European leather: fashionable, sustainable… unique!

In December 2020, COTANCE and IndustriAll-Europe, the European labour trade union, officially presented the new Social and Environmental Report of the European tanning industry to a wide audience of stakeholders.

The report was developed and published in the framework of a dedicated EU Social Dialogue Project (SER2020), that started in 2019 The aim of the project was to illustrate the outstanding progress made by the sector in the areas of social footprint, environmental footprint and ethics since the previous exercise in 2012.

The work started with an intensive survey amongst EU tanneries: 37 social indicators, such as contract type, age brackets, education, length of service, and 39 environmental parameters (chemicals, energy and water consumption, waste generation, removal of pollutants…) were monitored and analyzed over a 3 years reference period (2016-2018).

The exercise was challenging but very stimulating, evidencing the incredible variety of leather production segments across the 11 countries involved.
The European tanning industry offers continuous employment contracts, solid guarantees of transparent relationships, an inclusive working environment and the chance to collaborate with amazing creative industries, like fashion, design and automotive.

These conditions are the base for high staff retention and for an important increase in skills levels. Environmental performance has also shown considerable progress: circularity, efficient trend in resources consumption, removal of water pollutants, environmental investments are all elements that define a virtuous industry that aims at continuously reducing its environmental impact.

Despite the numerous attacks and an unjustified bad reputation, our sector can be proud of its contribution to the most ambitious targets set by UN Agenda 2030.
Times are difficult, but the industry’s commitment towards sustainability is stronger than ever.
For the future European Tanners will continue to focus on due diligence, safety, and the key ethical aspects regarding traceability & transparency.

Therefore, we can say loudly that European Leather …is good for you and good for the planet!

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