• cotance@euroleather.com

The large majority of leather products that are sold on the EU market are imported, mostly from countries where social, environmental or ethical standards are not always respected. The image of leather in the collective mindset is conditioned by the information that reaches the market from practices in far away places that have nothing to do with those that prevail in the European leather industry. Leather as such suffers from that impaired image.

In such a context, the Social Partners of the European Leather Industry propose the following recommendations:

1. Consumer trust in leather as a sustainable material needs to be built up through a concerted effort of the European leather value chain where the various links in the supply chain play their respective part for providing a comprehensive system.
2. Consumers need to be made aware of the distinct values of European leather businesses to allow them to make informed choices. The European regulatory environment regarding veterinary/sanitary aspects of hides and skins as well as to animal welfare needs to be explored for its ability to serve as a basis on which to build a guarantee system of good practice.
3. A qualified origin-marking scheme for leather products (origin of the article + origin of the leather) could give consumers in Europe valuable elements of intelligence on which to base their purchase decisions.
4. The mechanisms and content of clauses in supply contracts for tannery raw materials should be developed and tested in the value chain at least up to the slaughterhouses.
5. The practices that could constitute cause for concern in third countries ought to be monitored and supplying countries ranked so as to provide European operators with guidance on reliable origins of hides and skins.
6. Standardisation of a management system for traceability that ensures the protection of commercially confidential information and yet a reasonable transparency on value chain relevant CSR aspects should be further explored.