• cotance@euroleather.com

The EP fails to acknowledge the challenges and opportunities of leather within the EU Textile Strategy

On 1st June 2023, the European Parliament adopted its Report on the EU Strategy for Sustainable and Circular Textiles (EU Textiles Strategy). The ensuing EP Resolution forwarded to the EU Council and the Commission reviews the EU Textiles Strategy and makes specific recommendations to public and private stakeholders for its implementation. Leather appears just one time for indicating that it falls under the scope of the recently adopted EU Deforestation rules.  Europe’s leather producers regret that the European Parliament has failed to acknowledge the distinct character of leather within the textile ecosystem and its specific challenges and opportunities in the twin transition towards a green and digital future.

On 12 June 2023, the European Leather Industry, meeting in Igualada (Spain) for the COTANCE General Assembly, expresses its concerns over the poor attention given by EU institutions to its sector and its sustainable development. European tanners wonder whether the EU will roll out any support measure in their transition towards a green and digital future.

COTANCE calls on EU institutions to acknowledge and promote the advantages of leather as an intrinsically circular economy material, and to provide the necessary support to Europe’s tanners and dressers for mastering the challenges of the twin transition.   

COTANCE regrets that the misleading term “textile strategy”, where the ecosystem composed of textiles, clothing, leather and footwear, is identified by only one of its industrial segments. This leads to confusion with regard to the scope of certain measures and to others which are not adapted to the nature of the other industrial realities. EU authorities should clearly indicate for each strategic action the exact sectoral scope, giving regulatory predictability and legal certainty to the ecosystem’s sectors.

Furthermore, COTANCE calls on EU authorities to:

  • recognise that hides & skins, the raw materials for leather, are not produced on demand, but that they are a by-product of the production of meat for human consumption;
  • commit to undertake, by the review of the EUDR, an impact assessment analysing specifically whether leather is or is not a driver of deforestation, allowing for its eventual exclusion from the scope of the EUDR;
  • understand that, in the case of by-products such as hides and skins, the leverage on suppliers is much lower or absent, compared to products that are made on demand;
  • provide appropriate allocation metrics for by-products, that correlate to those for allocation of waste;
  • provide the leather industry with free access to animal traceability information in the EU and industry support programmes for developing animal traceability in extra-EU countries supplying tanners’ raw materials;
  • ensure that extra-EU imports of leather and leather products are subject to the same rules for placing products on the EU Market, and that these are effectively enforced at the border or on the market.

Europe’s leather industry provides an essential service to the EU economy by recycling the residues of the livestock and meat sector generating wealth and employment and producing safe and beautiful products for consumers.

COTANCE remains available for any further information.