• cotance@euroleather.com

COTANCE rejects allegations that the leather value chain is a driver of deforestation

The latest Global Witness Report and corresponding article in The Guardian again depict the leather industry as a driver of deforestation. COTANCE deplores that all the efforts deployed by governments and international organisations to curb deforestation and forest degradation have not been able to halt or reduce the incalculable damage that they cause to the planet. The European leather industry rejects though the allegations that the leather value chain is a driver of deforestation just because it generates wealth with the recycling of a residue of the meat industry.

The value of the hides on the revenue generated by the meat industry is so small (0-2%) that its influence on the breeding and slaughtering of animals can be disregarded. Hides and skins are increasingly destroyed in many places, as the demand for leather is more and more under attack. This is a very sad development that only favours more plastics and related waste, while a natural, renewable and valuable resource is being lost. This is a big economic and environmental mistake. The leather industry takes pride in considering itself a recycling activity, generating wealth and jobs with the transformation of a residue into one of the most versatile and beautiful materials in the world. Leather is one of the oldest examples of the circular economy.

COTANCE condemns deforestation and forest degradation and uses all its communication channels with the meat industry to convey to them the ethical requirements of the leather value chain. The lack of a transparent public traceability system for hides and skins in the EU and many other markets is a regulatory failure that COTANCE has denounced several times. Remedying this would help the leather industry to avoid deforestation-risk hides and skins in its supply chain and being taken hostage of slanderers in the press.

COTANCE calls on its public and private stakeholders to acknowledge that the world forests will not be saved by halting the leather trade and that recycling “illegal” hides next to “legal” hides is still an environmentally sound solution, as long as there is no secure way to separate them.