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New project for the TCLF Skills Council

Launch of the Digital TCLF 2025 project to provide the Textile, Clothing, Leather & Footwear sectors with the appropriate skills and competencies to face the digitization of the value chains

erasmusCOTANCE, representing the European Leather Industry, is one of the three sectors taking part in a multiannual ERASMUS+ KA2 project Digital TCLF 2025 (EU Textile, Clothing, Leather & Footwear (TCLF) Skills Council: analysis of emerging occupations in a digital environment). The project is coordinated by EURATEX.

The five project partners (COTANCE, EURATEX, European Shoe Confederation, industriAll-Europe and Spin360) held their launch meeting in EURATEX premises in Brussels in January 2017.

The objective of the project is to address the need to provide these (TCLF) sectors with the appropriate skills and competencies to embrace the digitization of the EU value chains. It is a follow-up initiative furthering the EU TCLF Skills Council set up by the Social Partners of the three sectors.
Moreover, improving the skills of the leather sector’s human resources and focusing notably on preparing the sector’s SMEs to the digital economy is one of the challenges identified in the Social Dialogue project “A Future for European Leather!” finalized in 2016 and thus part of the COTANCE priorities in the Action Plan towards 2025.

Digital TCLF 2025 will focus on: forecasting future impact of these occupations in terms of European employment and strategic development of the TCLF sectors and their SMEs; identifying gaps between the current Vocational Education and Training (VET) providers offer for the emerging occupations; drafting innovative VET & Training Programs, together with competent and relevant stakeholders, selected based on their possible involvement in future exploitation activities.

The work will be complemented by the development of skills recognition within the sectors and the definition of a roadmap for Digital Skills development in the TCLF sectors inclusive of exploitation strategies and training provision, whether it be VET-based or using other education and training activities tailored for the SMEs, their workers and being attractive to the young generations.


Project Acronym: Digital TCLF 2025
Project Title: EU Textile, Clothing, Leather & Footwear (TCLF) Skills Council: analysis of emerging occupations in a digital environment
Project Reference: 575850-EPP-1-2016-1-BE-EPPKA2-SSA
Project Duration: 24 months from 01.12.2016 – 30.11.2018
Project Partners
1.    EURATEX (coordinator), Belgium – Textiles & Clothing
2.    CEC, Belgium - Footwear
3.    COTANCE, Belgium - Leather
4.    IndustriAll Europe, Belgium – European Trade Union
5.    SPIN360, Italy


Dr Josep Adzet passes away

adzet1On December 7, Dr. Josep Maria Adzet Adzet, former Director of the Tanning School of Igualada (Spain), and long time collaborator with COTANCE and GERIC, received the last goodbye from his family and friends in the "Sagrada Familia" Church in Igualada.

Dr Adzet combined his professional career between education & training and business responsibilities in the leather industry. He was in charge of the scientific management of the Spanish leather technology centre AIICA (Research Association of the Tanning and Ancillary Industries) and developed leather science and research contributing to more sustainable processes for the tanning sector.

Dr Adzet published many books, manuals and articles in specialized magazines on the treatment of hides & skins and the implementation of clean technologies in the industry. His work is recognized throughout the sector. In Spain and South America many tanners respectfully remember the Professor who taught them everything about tanning.

We lose an outstanding leather scientist and educator.   

COTANCE offers its condoleances to his family and relatives.


New Presidency for 2016-2018

In Freiberg, COTANCE Assembly General unanimously elects Thomas Bee as new COTANCE President



Last 14 June, the Assembly General of COTANCE took place in Freiberg, Germany, upon the invitation of the Verband der Deutschen Lederindustrie and on the occasion of the 5th Freiberger Ledertage that were opened the next day.
Delegates from Italy, Spain, France, Germany, United Kingdom, Portugal, Sweden, Romania and, for the first time, Austria attended the meeting at FILK, the German leather research institute.

As 2016 marked the year of the renewal of its Presidency, Mr Jonathan Muirhead, who chaired the Association for two years, stepped down with a few words summarising his challenging, but highly sucessful mandate. In particular, he pointed out that the association had become stronger with the addition of two new members (FV TBSL/ BG LE, Austria and Scan-hide, Denmark). He also mentioned the major successes achieved during his term, such as the development of PEFCR for leather.

Mr Muirhead also emphasized areas where COTANCE had been working hard, in particular the area of leather labelling and in trade reciprocity. He also said that more emphasis was still needed on the defense of the image of leather and in education & training.

Finally he wished his sucesssor all the best for his mandate.

The new COTANCE Presidency is as follows:
- Mr Thomas Bee (VDL, Schafstall Holding GmbH & Co. KG): President for the 2016-2018 mandate.
- Mr Hugues Pichon (FFTM, Tanneries Roux): Vice-President.
- Mr Jonathan Muirhead (UKLF, Scottish Leather Group): Vice-President, past President
- Mr Rino Mastrotto (UNIC, Rino Mastrotto Group) is elected as incoming Vice-President.


In his inaugural speech, Mr Thomas Bee thanked his predecessor for his dedication during the last two years and thanked all members for the trust put in him for the forthcoming mandate.

COTANCE will meet again in Council in November 2016 in Brussels.


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:








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

GreenLIFE Closing Event

greenlifeProjects ends in Arzignano on 15 December

After 19 months of experimentation, greenLIFE presents innovations in the tanning industry, which aims for environmental and economic sustainability.

Is it possible to reduce the environmental impact of the tanning industry while maintaining its competitiveness? The European Union, through the LIFE programme, funded half the greenLIFE project, Green Leather Industry for the Environment. Launched in June 2014, greenLIFE today – after following the results obtained in the first 19 months of experimentation – looks to the future. With #greenleather2016, the project disseminates its achievements in terms of reducing environmental impact and reusing waste and by-products for the benefit of other industrial sectors.
The event will be held on December 15 in the auditorium of the Higher Technical Institute G. Galilei of Arzignano (province of Vicenza, Italy) from 5 pm to 7 pm CET. For 50 years, this school has been a driving force for the most important industry of the area, the tanning industry. The companies sponsoring the project are Dani and Mastrotto Group, Ikem, Ilsa, and Acque del Chiampo.


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