• cotance@euroleather.com

The public perception of leather in the focus of this years’ COTANCE Annual Meeting

COTANCE President Rios invited the European Leather industry to meet in Igualada (Spain) for the Mid-year Council and General Assembly meeting. The encounter took place on June 12, 2023 and was hosted by ACEXPIEL. The following visit programme included the Igualada Campus of the University of Lleida, which earlier this year submitted the Erasmus Mundus International Leather Master proposal “LEATECH”, as well as the local Tannery Wastewater Treatment Plant, which has received international recognition of UNEP.

Delegates from Italy, France, Germany, UK and Spain reviewed the activities of COTANCE since the 2022 Assembly General, debating topics including sustainability, advocacy and communication.


COTANCE AG 2023They addressed the countdown triggered by the publication of the EU Deforestation Regulation (EUDR) in the EU Official Journal. The EU will enforce the Due Diligence requirements in 18-24 months in domestic and extra-EU leather supply chains. COTANCE Members invited the Leather Traceability Cluster (LTC) launched in late 2022, to orchestrate practical solutions to the issue of hide traceability.

COTANCE also reviewed the advocacy actions and alliances in the context of REACH restrictions on chemicals which are key for the competitiveness of European leather and the Global leather trade. European tanners expressed their concern over the outlook for the leather trade & industry and their regret that EU institutions pay little attention to the challenges for the leather value chain in the EU Textiles Strategy. COTANCE adopted a Position Statement addressing the shortcomings of EU measures following the publication of the EP Report on the EU Textiles Strategy.

The Open session of the COTANCE General Assembly hosted two outstanding speakers, Gustavo Defeo and Andrea Bertaglio, addressing the image of leather in the public perception and the need to further enhance the communication about its sustainability.

Gustavo Defeo, founder of Ars Tinctoria[i], reviewed his research paper, published in the peer-reviewed journal Coatings, “Comparing Materials’ Circularity: A Novel Method for Biobased Carbon Quantification Technique on Leather, Artificial Leather, and Trendy Alternatives”. This paper provides fact-based information about the actual composition of materials marketed to replace leather and will complement the 2021 FILK paper in the sector’s arsenal to fight deceptive or unfair commercial practices related to the abuse of the term “leather” .

Gustavo Defeo

Andrea Bertaglio, the Italian Journalist specialized in sustainability, climate change and environmental issues and author of the book “In difesa della carne” is currently Campaign Master in the European Livestock Voice. He spoke about the structuring of communications in the livestock value chain and COTANCE’s cooperation with the meat sector to challenge the myths surrounding the origin of our raw materials.

Andrea Bertaglio

COTANCE President Rios said: “We wanted to address two important dimensions in relation to the perception of leather: Tanning is a necessary industrial sector and; we, tanners, have to continue to be active with promotional campaigns through new digital media for educating consumers to understand leather and its great environmental and sustainable value for our society.”.With regard to the sector’s regulatory challenges, he said: ”… apart from all the constraints that we have to face in our daily lives, European tanners are resilient; small and medium-sized companies with individual strength and creativity, capable of overcoming all these adversities.”


 COTANCE AG treatment plant



[i] Ars Tinctoria, established, in 2011, is an analytical and research laboratory in Santa Croce sull'Arno servicing mayor companies and brands in the leather sector