Social and Environmental Reporting

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Framework Agreement

Social & Environmental Reporting Standard in the European Leather/Tanning Industry
Social Sectoral Dialogue Committee Leather/Tanning

(approved in Committee on 17 June 2008)


COTANCE and ETUF:TCL, the Social Partners of the Leather/Tanning industry at European level, convened within their Social Sectoral Dialogue Committee, re-affirm their earnest allegiance to the respect of human rights in the workplace and to the responsible use of environmental resources. 

The Social Partners of the European Leather Industry agree to work towards a Leather and Tanning sector that is productive and internationally competitive, but also based on the respect of human rights and the environment.

They thus support fair and open world-wide trade, based upon the respect of the ILO conventions as well as on the international principles regarding Human Rights, Human Dignity and Environmental Protection as promoted by the UNEP Cleaner Production Declaration.

The European signatories of the European Social Code of Conduct for the Leather Industry (July 2000) now adopt a Social Reporting Standard that includes also environmental performance indicators.

In the context of article 139 of the Treaty, this autonomous European framework agreement commits the members of COTANCE and ETUF-TCL to implement it in accordance with the procedures and practices specific to management and labour in the Member States.The signatory parties also invite their member organisations in candidate countries to implement this agreement.

The implementation of this agreement will be carried out within 3 years after the date of signature of this agreement.
Member organisations will report on the implementation of this agreement to the Social Sectoral Dialogue Committee. During the first 2 years after the date of signature of this agreement, the Social Sectoral Dialogue Committee will prepare a yearly table summarising the on-going implementation of the agreement. A full report on the implementation actions taken will be prepared by the Social Sectoral Dialogue Committee during the 3rd year."

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1. Scope and application
2. Reference standards
3. Terms and definitions
4. Requirements

 4.1 general principles
 4.2 social indicators
 4.3 environmental indicators
5. Management requirements


Social reports and environment declarations rank among the most innovative tools available for companies to inform all interested parties – i.e. customers, institutions, competitors, the financial market, control bodies, suppliers and staff – about their social and environmental commitment.

To guarantee effective communication, the contents of these documents will have to meet international and sector standards, so that they may be interpreted and compared more easily.

1. Scope and application

The present document offers some useful indications for companies in the leather sector to draw up social reports and environment declarations aimed at informing all interested parties (stakeholders) about their business policy. A list of key social and environmental indicators is provided for this purpose.
Moreover, this document includes some guidelines to independent certification bodies for auditing these reports.
This standard is applicable whenever no specific regulations are available.

2. Reference standards

- COTANCE-ETUF:TCL Social Code of conduct of the leather sector
- ISO 9000  Quality Management System – Fundamentals and vocabulary
- ISO 9001  Quality Management System – Requirements
- ISO 9004  Quality Management System – Guidelines for performance    improvement
- ISO 14001 Environment Management System – Requirements and guidelines
- SA 8000  Social Accountability 8000

3.  Terms and definitions

The definitions below are applicable to this standard:

3.1 Social and environmental policy: the targets and general guidelines of an organisation concerning social commitment and environmental issues, as formally expressed by the top managerial staff.
3.2 Procedure: a well-defined way to perform an activity or process.
3.3 Indicator: a quality or quantity index indicating the level of a given characteristic.
3.4 Report: a document intended to communicate information outside the company.
3.5 Appraisal: a document intended for in-house reference. It principally consists of a quantitative analysis.

4.  Requirements

4.1 General principles

The report is by the Company.
All information contained in a social report and environment declaration will be accurate, verifiable and stated clearly.
Clear indications about the company, its activities and the units involved will be included in the report.
The report is discussed by the Company and Workers representatives where they are organised.
The report will be identified unambiguously and offer the chance to send commentaries or request further information.

4.2 Social indicators

The minimum information included in a social report will be based on the following indicators (Q= pertaining to quality, R= pertaining to quantity, E= economic/monetary indicators).

4.2.1 Indicators on human resources 

 Human Resources

4.2.2 Societal indicators
  Human Resources

4.3  Environmental indicators

A report will include at least the following essential information:

1. A description of the processing cycle and the principal effects on the environment; also, depending on the context, where the company develops its business.
2. An indication of all cost items having significant environmental relevance, i.e.:  water, air, solid waste, power, other significant items (as % of turnover or gross operational profit)
3. Details of environmental projects promoted over the last three years, information on the costs incurred and possible environmental investments planned for the next three years.
4. Information concerning any possible sponsoring of environmental research projects
5. Any independent certification or auditing
6. Any programs to train and raise staff awareness on environmental issues

5.  Management requirements

With a view to offering sufficient guarantees that the contents of a report are reliable, a company will have to control the following activities, also through documented procedures:

a) To collect, process and release business data
b) To answer any stakeholders’ requests about the contents of the report
c) To prepare the documents and keep the records of the activities described in a) and b)
d) To prevent and correct non-conformity of the activities described in a) and b)
e) To carry out in-house inspection on the efficiency of the processes above.


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Framework Agreement

Article 1 – Promotion of the COTANCE-ETUF:TCL Social Reporting Standard
COTANCE and ETUF:TCL call on their members to actively encourage companies and workers in the European leather and tanning sector to develop Social Reports and Environmental Declarations according to the present model. 
Article 2 – Dissemination and implementation
2.1 COTANCE and ETUF:TCL commit themselves to disseminate the Social Reporting Standard in the relevant languages at all levels.
2.2 COTANCE and ETUF:TCL call on their respective members (lists in annex) to promote this Social Reporting Standard and to encourage its progressive implementation at company level. 
2.3 COTANCE and ETUF:TCL will set in place, where appropriate, training and awareness programmes.

Article 3 – Follow-up, assessment and corrective actions
3.1 COTANCE and ETUF:TCL agree to follow-up, in the framework of the Social Sectoral Dialogue at European level, the progressive accomplishment of the implementation of the present Social Reporting Standard.
3.2 To that effect, COTANCE and ETUF:TCL will conduct as appropriate a regular evaluation of the implementation of the present Framework Agreement even beyond the 3rd year of its signature as indicated in the Introduction. They could ask, among others, the European Commission or EU Member States to supply the necessary assistance in this respect.
3.3 COTANCE and ETUF:TCL agree that the implementation of the results of the Framework Agreement have to be assessed in an independent manner, guaranteeing the credibility of the Framework Agreement to all interested parties.
3.4 COTANCE and ETUF:TCL may, in the context of the European Social Sectoral Dialogue, decide jointly and freely to start any other initiative in the pursuit of the implementation of the present Framework Agreement.

Article 4 – Most favourable clause
COTANCE members or their affiliated companies can introduce more detailed indicators in their respective possible Social Reports and Environmental Declarations. The implementation of the present Social Reporting Standard can in no circumstance constitute an argument for reducing the more detailed Reports and Declarations already in place.

Annex: list of members

Brussels, 17 June 2008
For COTANCE: Gustavo Gonzalez-Quijano, Secretary General
For ETUF:TCL: Patrick Itschert, Secretary General