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TANNET - A Concerted Action for the European Leather Industry (1998-2001)

What is TANNET

TANNET stands for Tanning and Network, an initiative lauched in April 1998 aiming at pooling scientific and technical expertise for the benefit of the European leather industry and supporting thus its economic development and its environmental sustainability.

TANNET II, a continuation project by the same partnership, started in September 2000.

The Objectives

The objectives of the concerted action were:

· To set up a Network of public and private actors concerned with the economic and environmental performance of the leather industry at European scale where sectoral operators can find expert advice, guidance and responses to technological issues.

· To elaborate a strategy for environmental research and technological development based on the tanning industry´s needs

The Network

The European leather industry consists of approximately 3000 tanneries employing directly some 50,000 people. It embraces primarily small and medium-sized tanneries all over Europe although a majority of them are located in the South of Europe.

The network brought together tanners, their representatives, their suppliers and leather manufacturers as well as academia and public authorities. Throughout the duration of the project, the research needs of industry were identified so as to build up a full fledged R&D strategy which allowed operators to remain at the forefront of innovation, quality and environmental performance. In this context, 3 work-shops were held in Italy (Bologna; Lineapelle), Spain (Igualada) and the UK (Northampton) and concentrated on specific sectoral items.

Under the leadership of the Danish Technological Institute (DTI) and COTANCE, the partnership included the leather research centres of UK (BLC), France (CTC), Spain (AIICA), Greece (ELKEDE), Germany (LGR), Portugal (CTIC) and Italy (SSIP) also represented by the Italian leather association (UNIC). These bodies acted as decentralised national focal points nurturing an ambitious network which maintained an ongoing dialogue with private and public actors with a direct interest in the leather sector.


Note: Some references (names, mails, etc) in these Newsletters are outdated. Please check with COTANCE or partners (see GERIC Members) for corrected data.

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FAIR: Factors affecting the quality of hides and skins

Under this 38-month project (1998 to 2001), ten European partners developed a network of European researchers working on hide and skin quality. Their aim was to exchange information in order to enable co-ordination of efforts, to produce a range of information on protecting hide and skin quality - including leaflets, computer training packages and a web site, and to develop a working document outlining the needs for further work.

The training software (CD-ROM) can be obtained from COTANCE.

Code of Conduct

A Code of Conduct for the European Leather Industry

In the year 2000, the representative bodies of European tanners, together with COTANCE, signed a highly advanced social Code of Conduct. The Code was developed at European level by COTANCE and ETUF:TCL (European trade union federation for textile, clothing and leather - now industriAll-Europe).


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Many projects divulging the content of the Charter have been developed at EU level and in Member States promoting the leather industry Code of Conduct. It was taken up by its member organisations and subscribing to it is a precondition for new members. Its implementation at company level is, in principle, achieved, but COTANCE would to like to take a step further and provide companies subscribing individually to the Charter with an acknowledgement that they can use in their marketing strategies.

As a first step, companies subscribing will receive an acknowledgement of their willingness and commitment to the principles laid down in the Charter. In time they will be requested to formalise this commitment further through the certification by an independent body of their compliance to the Charter; SA 8000 or similar.

Subscribing is a voluntary act of commitment that is expected to be taken at the highest company decision-making level and to be further developed credibly over time with concrete achievements. All companies of the leather value chain may subscribe to the Charter, including non-EU companies. Its uptake by extra-EU companies increases its success as a global model.

To subscribe, send an email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .