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A Manifest for the EU leather industry


The future for European leather debated at the European Economic and Social Committee

The Conference concluding the Social Dialogue project of COTANCE and industriAll “A future for European leather!” took place on February 2, 2016, in the European Economic and Social Committee, the official soundboard of civil society in the EU. In support of the sector, its Consultative Commission for Industrial Change (the French acronym is CCMI) granted its « partnership » to the EU-sponsored initiative, as a first signal for further cooperation with the sector’s Social Partners on the challenges and opportunities identified in their joint Manifesto.


The Committee is aware that tanneries are confronted to he same well-known difficulties as all European SMEs, but that they also have specific needs and it's time the Committee takes stock of their objectives and specific concerns.

Lucie Studnicna


I hope that progress can be made on specific issues, such as the identification of genuine leather on the market, or fair methodologies to calculate the envrionmental footprint of hides and skins, the industry's raw materials.

Jonathan Muirhead

60 public and private stakeholders of the leather/tanning sector attended the one-day event in Brussels that was opened and jointly chaired by Mrs Lucie Studničná, President of CCMI and Mr Jonathan Muirhead (Scottish Leather Group), President of COTANCE. In addition to national employers associations and trade unions, partners in the project, guests included high-level representatives of big brands, the chemical industry, sector education and training centres, lobbies of value chain partners, the press, as well as members of the CCMI and various Commission services directly involved in policy areas of key interest to the leather industry.


Luc Triangle (industriAll) and Gustavo Gonzalez-Quijano (COTANCE), the sector’s EU Social Partners, officially presented their “Manifesto”. The 4-page document summarises the conclusions of the thematic seminars held throughout 2015 on industry matters (Bucharest, 24 April), social/societal affairs (Paris, 19 June), trade issues (Alcanena, 27 October) and environmental matters (Glasgow, 10 December). It thereby articulates the sector’s main concerns into clear objectives to be reached for ensuring growth and jobs in the European leather sector.

The morning session concluded with two keynote speakers : Mike Redwood and Emmanuelle Butaud-Stubbs further depicted the challenges ahead for the European leather industry, but also its values and strengths.






It is important to know where the sectors wants to stand in ten years time!
EU tanneries should export their standards to third countries, not the opposite.

Luc Triangle

The Manifesto is only the beginning. All stakeholders will hopefully continue to cooperate to face up to the identified challenges with initiatives that could be laid down in a ten-year action plan.

Gustavo Gonzalez-Quijano

Leather should not carry the weight of atmospheric emissions that are blamed on livestock.

Mike Redwood

 We understand that it is important for the leather sector to promote both the orign and authenticity labelling, which allows the industry to differentiate itself.

Emmanuelle Butaud-Stubbs


The afternoon was dedicated to a panel debate where the issues raised in the Manifesto received an initial feedback from Commission services and allied sector representatives. High-level officers from DG Grow (Mr Carlo Corazza), DG Trade (Mr Luc Devigne) and DG Employment (Sigried Caspar), from the EESC (Mrs Emmanuelle Butaud-Stubbs), Euratex (Mr Francesco Marchi) and sector experts (Federico Brugnoli) made up the Panel. The various statements, comments and remarks of the panellists showed that the Juncker Commission and the respective EU Commissioners in charge of industry, trade and employment have rolled out a number of policy measures that could be exploited to achieve the key objectives of the Social Partners.

Corazza Caspar Devigne Marchi Brugnoli

EU rules for describing genuine leather are also necessary to protect the consumer.

Carlo Corazza

DG Employment takes note of the needs expressed in the manifesto and invites the social partners to identify clear action points on which they want to work.

Sigried Caspar

The leather industry's trade issues related to raw materials are on the Commission's agenda.

Luc Devigne

The textile/leather/footwear sectors are ahead of the others with their EU Sector Skills Council.

Francesco Marchi

The Commission's PEF initiative constitutes a great opportunity for European tanners to set appropriate product category rules for leather.

Federico Brugnoli


It was a day of intensive exchanges and networking that all participants welcomed.


The Conference concluded with a call for further developing the Manifesto into a fully-fledged action plan with timetables, listing concrete initiatives and identifying the public and private stakeholders willing to contribute to their realisation.


Documents can be downloaded:


Other linguistic versions will be added in the next few weeks.







Link to the on-line publication by industriAll-European trade union:


Brussels, 4 February 2016

In partnership with


With the support of

European-Commission-Logo 200

A Future for European Leather - Closing Event

A Future for European Leather! – Final Conference announced!

After the successful series of seminars held during the course of 2015, all dedicated to a particular theme including industry, social/societal issues, trade and environment, COTANCE and industriAll are pleased to announced that the Final Conference will be held in Brussels, on 2nd February 2016 in partnership with the European Economic and Social Committee providing the venue for the event.

The European social partners will present a joint manifest with conclusions and recommendations derived from the seminars. A high-level audience is expected with major stakeholders from both sides of industry and officials from the European Community institutions. Participants will be able to contribute to the debate between the parties and will have opportunities for networking with a large pool of experts.


In partnership with


With the support of

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A Future For European Leather highlight of the Portuguese Leather Days

Alcanena, Portugal’s Leather Cluster hosted on Tuesday 27 October 2015 the third Seminar of the European Project developed by the sector’s Social Partners, COTANCE and IndustriAll.

The event that took place in the auditorium of CTIC, the country’s Leather Technology Centre (Centro Tecnologico das Industrias de Curtumes) was devoted to leather trade issues. Presentations from keynote speakers addressed the business outlook for the leather sector for raw materials up to retailing of leather products. Over 70 participants and guests from Portugal and abroad were in attendance clearly evidencing the interest in the event.

Participants to the Alcanena Seminar could listen to keynote speeches from
-    Nick Winters, President of ICHSLTA, who presented a detailed statistical analysis of the trade in hides & skins and projections for the future; he sees a bright future for European leather thanks to the quality of its domestic raw materials,  

-    Katarzyna Kuske, from the European Commission, who evidenced the main trade issues that European tanners are facing in their access to raw materials; she reported on progress in their removal and assured the support of DG Growth in finding solutions to the remaining problems,

-    Luc Triangle, Deputy Secretary General of IndustriAll, Europe’s largest industrial Trade Union, who reviewed the overall EU trade policy and underlined the need that the European Commission negotiates effective clauses in trade agreements for securing Europe’s jobs and businesses,

-    Isabel Cantista, CEO of Fast Forward Innovation Ltda. and University lecturer on marketing, who elaborated on the winning concept of fashion districts in the cities of tomorrow and the business models that support them.


Mr Nuno Carvalho, recently elected President of APIC, the Portuguese Leather Trade Association, and Mr Alcino Martinho, Director of CTIC concluded the day animating a brief panel discussion and inviting all participants to the Art Space Joao Carvalho in the city centre where the culture of leather in arts was highlighted.

APIC President Nuno Carvalho expressed his satisfaction for having successfully integrated the COTANCE-IndustriAll Seminar in the development of the Portuguese “Leather Days” that evidence to the World the beating heart of Portugal’s Leather Industry and its contribution to the future of the European Leather Industry.

October 2015

Objective 2025 - Paris

Paris gathers 68 participants for the second Seminar of the COTANCE-industriAll project
"A Future for European Leather - Objective 2025"

The second Seminar of the COTANCE-industriAll project “A Future for European Leather” took place on Friday 19 June in Paris (France) hosted by the French Tanners Association (FFTM) in the centrally located Pullman-Montparnasse Conference Centre. This time the focus was on Social and Societal challenges and opportunities looking ahead into the next decade.

Two factors explain that Paris gathered double the number of participants compared to Bucharest; first, the success of the first Seminar on industrial issues held in Bucharest earlier in April, which increased the expectations of the sector for this initiative, and, second, the fact that the seminar was held as the open session of the COTANCE General Assembly Meeting and next to the FFTM Council meeting, which made that virtually all French tanners attended.

paris776Again, representatives of big brands, parent sector associations, think tanks and research and educational organisations joined the representatives of both sides of the industry to this second event where the focus was put on social and societal issues. Trade issues and Environmental issues will follow later in 2015, respectively in October (Portugal) and December (UK).

COTANCE President Jonathan Muirhead and Vice-President Jean-Claude Ricomard opened the encounter welcoming the participants and wishing them fruitful discussions.

COTANCE and IndustriAll-European Trade Union proposed again an outstanding panel of speakers with

-    Mr Xavier Royer, Director of the Textile-Leather-Fashion department of OPCALIA, the French Sector Skills Council member of the European Textile Clothing Leather and Footwear Sector Skills Council;
-    Emmanuelle Butaud-Stubbs, Delegate General of the French Union of Textile Industries and member of the European Economic and Social Committee since 2010;
-    Sylvain Lefebvre, Deputy Secretary General of IndustriAll-European Trade Union notably in charge of horizontal Social Dialogue and of a number of industrial sectors.

The speakers addressed the importance of skills developments for the leather industry and the entire leather value chain (Mr Royer), the fruits of the EU Social Sector Dialogue (Mrs Butaud-Stubbs) and the risks for the Social Dialogue that certain EU policy developments entail (Mr Lefebvre).

A panel discussion with Mrs Butaud-Stubbs, Mr Frank Boehly, President of the Conseil National du Cuir, Mr Dominique Jacomet, General Director of the Institut Français de la Mode and both EU social partners of the leather sector Mr Luc Triangle and Mr Gustavo Gonzalez-Quijano provided in the afternoon a wider understanding of the societal challenges that the leather industry is to face in the coming years.

The seminar concluded with a public interview of COTANCE Vice-President Mr Ricomard who is to retire from his sectoral functions and has been a promoter and strong supporter of the European sector social dialogue since its beginning in the turn of the millennium.  

June 2015

Objective 2025 - Bucharest

Successful start in Bucharest of the COTANCE-IndustriAll project
“Objective 2025! – A future for European Leather”

Over 35 stakeholders of the European leather industry, including the sector’s leading trade press, gathered on 24th April 2015 in Bucharest for the first Seminar of the four that build up the backbone of the project of the EU Social Partners. Representatives of big brands, downstream sector associations, think tanks and research and educational organisations joined the representatives of both sides of the industry to this first event where focus was put on industrial challenges and opportunities looking ahead into the next decade. Other seminars on societal issues, on trade issues and on environmental issues will follow throughout 2015.

Dr Luminita Albu, director of APPBR, the Romanian social partner on the employers’ side, acting as local hosts of the event, opened the meeting with warm welcoming words and good wishes for a productive day.

speakersCOTANCE and IndustriAll-European Trade Union introduced an outstanding panel of speakers with

-    Mike Redwood, reputed leather industry expert, University professor and founder of the sector’s Think Tank Leather Naturally!
-    Paul Pearson, Secretary of the International Council of Tanners, and
-    Guido Nelissen, Economic Advisor with IndustriAll-European Trade Union in charge of industrial policy, macroeconomic policy, international trade and sectors such as automobile.

The speakers outlined global trends that will shape the future of the leather industry in Europe. Mike Redwood embarked the audience into a trip into the future with regard to urbanisation, demographics and technology and how these will affect life and consequently production and consumption patterns. Paul Pearson provided an exhaustive account of global production and trade trends in leather highlighting the outlook for the trade and industry in the areas of raw materials, the allocation of resources, hide prices, leather authenticity labelling and CSR. Guido Nelissen concluded the day with a detailed picture of the vision of the largest EU industry trade union with regard to industrial policy in the EU presenting the intelligence and the recommendations collected in the organisation’s Manifesto to put industry back to work.

The debate allowed participants to deepen their understanding on the factors that need to be integrated in the business strategies of European operators so they remain competitive on the global market in the future.


30 April 2015