• cotance@euroleather.com

COTANCE General Assembly re-elects Mr Andreas Kindermann to lead Europe’s Leather industry during this turbulent period of Covid-19

Last Monday 7th of September 2020, COTANCE gathered in Vienna (Austria) for its annual meeting with statutory elections on the agenda. While the general understanding in the organisation remains to shift the body’s leadership to industry captains more focused on fashion for mirroring the policies that will dominate the EU in the legislature that started in late 2019 with Commission President von der Leyen, COTANCE President Kindermann (Wollsdorf, Austria) was requested to continue driving Europe’s leather industry successfully through the Covid-19 crisis. Ensuring the transition to the small skins and fashion sector, Mr Manuel Rios (INPELSA, Spain) was elected to the position of 1st Vice-President and forthcoming COTANCE President, as soon as circumstances permit. Philippe Joucla (Mégisserie Lauret, France) took over the Vice-President position left by Jean Christophe Muller (Tanneries Haas, France). Former COTANCE President Rino Mastrotto (Rino Mastrotto Group, Italy) completes the body’s Presidential board. 

The new COTANCE Presidency received a unanimous support in the body’s first hybrid meeting mixing on-line participation with physical presence of part of the membership.

From left to right: Andreas Kindermann, Manuel Rios, Philippe Joucla, Rino Mastrotto

The Vienna meeting was hosted by the WKÖ, Austria’s economic council, and addressed - apart from other typical statutory matters - the state of play of the impact on business of the Covid-19 crisis, leather authenticity, as well as the environmental footprint of leather. All matters of prime importance to the leather industry.

Business in the leather industry is slowly recovering from the worst moments of the pandemic that saw, with the lockdown of tanneries, the sector’s turnover melt almost totally before the summer. Now that business starts to recover, COTANCE members forecast the year ending with a 30-35% fall compared to 2019. Positive signs have been witnessed in all sub-sectors, but the sector’s operators convene in that the recovery is fragile and would need further support by public authorities. Support is expected in the context of EU policies such as the Green Deal, the Circular Economy Action Plan, The Farm to Fork Strategy as well as the EU Textile Strategy, that should in principle benefit the so-called textile eco-system that comprises leather and footwear. However, since the EU multi-billion Recovery Plan is to be channelled through national and regional governments, it will be up to COTANCE member associations to ensure that the leather industry is not left behind in public support.

COTANCE President Kindermann emphasises that these “critical times require forceful action on promoting leather and the leather industry”. The need for an EU leather authenticity legislation becomes increasingly urgent in the light of the expansion of false descriptions in on-line sales platforms. Moreover, the COTANCE success of the Leather PEFCR (Product Environmental Footprint Category Rules) needs now to be further consolidated with tanneries developing PEF LCA studies for their products and supply industries in the chemical and machinery sectors using this instrument for promoting their formulations and tools. 

“Also, the leather industry needs to take advantage of the fact that the Covid-19 crisis has publicly revealed that hides & skins of slaughter animals are residues of meat production. Hence, it is of crucial importance to ensure 0-allocation in major Life-Cycle methodologies! In the PEF, COTANCE arrived close to 0! The leather industry should not be satisfied with anything else than 0, because this is the only correct allocation for this Upcycling Material!” said COTANCE President Kindermann.