• cotance@euroleather.com

A Future for the European leather industry

The 4-page Manifest was produced during the EU- sponsored "A Future for European Leather" project and summarises the conclusions of four 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 articulates the sector’s main concerns into clear objectives to be reached for ensuring growth and jobs in the European leather sector.

The report of the project presents the activities and discussions in details.


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Link to the on-line publication by industriAll-European trade union: http://industriall-europe.eu/news/list3.asp?stid=413

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


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

Paris gathers 68 participants for the second Seminar of the COTANCE-industriAll project
"A Future for European Leather - Objective 2025"

The second Seminar of the COTANCE-industriAll project “A Future for European Leather” took place on Friday 19 June in Paris (France) hosted by the French Tanners Association (FFTM) in the centrally located Pullman-Montparnasse Conference Centre. This time the focus was on Social and Societal challenges and opportunities looking ahead into the next decade.

Two factors explain that Paris gathered double the number of participants compared to Bucharest; first, the success of the first Seminar on industrial issues held in Bucharest earlier in April, which increased the expectations of the sector for this initiative, and, second, the fact that the seminar was held as the open session of the COTANCE General Assembly Meeting and next to the FFTM Council meeting, which made that virtually all French tanners attended.


Again, representatives of big brands, parent sector associations, think tanks and research and educational organisations joined the representatives of both sides of the industry to this second event where the focus was put on social and societal issues. Trade issues and Environmental issues will follow later in 2015, respectively in October (Portugal) and December (UK).

COTANCE President Jonathan Muirhead and Vice-President Jean-Claude Ricomard opened the encounter welcoming the participants and wishing them fruitful discussions.

COTANCE and IndustriAll-European Trade Union proposed again an outstanding panel of speakers with

-    Mr Xavier Royer, Director of the Textile-Leather-Fashion department of OPCALIA, the French Sector Skills Council member of the European Textile Clothing Leather and Footwear Sector Skills Council;
-    Emmanuelle Butaud-Stubbs, Delegate General of the French Union of Textile Industries and member of the European Economic and Social Committee since 2010;
-    Sylvain Lefebvre, Deputy Secretary General of IndustriAll-European Trade Union notably in charge of horizontal Social Dialogue and of a number of industrial sectors.

The speakers addressed the importance of skills developments for the leather industry and the entire leather value chain (Mr Royer), the fruits of the EU Social Sector Dialogue (Mrs Butaud-Stubbs) and the risks for the Social Dialogue that certain EU policy developments entail (Mr Lefebvre).

A panel discussion with Mrs Butaud-Stubbs, Mr Frank Boehly, President of the Conseil National du Cuir, Mr Dominique Jacomet, General Director of the Institut Français de la Mode and both EU social partners of the leather sector Mr Luc Triangle and Mr Gustavo Gonzalez-Quijano provided in the afternoon a wider understanding of the societal challenges that the leather industry is to face in the coming years.

The seminar concluded with a public interview of COTANCE Vice-President Mr Ricomard who is to retire from his sectoral functions and has been a promoter and strong supporter of the European sector social dialogue since its beginning in the turn of the millennium.  

June 2015

Successful start in Bucharest of the COTANCE-IndustriAll project
“Objective 2025! – A future for European Leather”

Over 35 stakeholders of the European leather industry, including the sector’s leading trade press, gathered on 24th April 2015 in Bucharest for the first Seminar of the four that build up the backbone of the project of the EU Social Partners. Representatives of big brands, downstream sector associations, think tanks and research and educational organisations joined the representatives of both sides of the industry to this first event where focus was put on industrial challenges and opportunities looking ahead into the next decade. Other seminars on societal issues, on trade issues and on environmental issues will follow throughout 2015.

Dr Luminita Albu, director of APPBR, the Romanian social partner on the employers’ side, acting as local hosts of the event, opened the meeting with warm welcoming words and good wishes for a productive day.

speakersCOTANCE and IndustriAll-European Trade Union introduced an outstanding panel of speakers with

-    Mike Redwood, reputed leather industry expert, University professor and founder of the sector’s Think Tank Leather Naturally!
-    Paul Pearson, Secretary of the International Council of Tanners, and
-    Guido Nelissen, Economic Advisor with IndustriAll-European Trade Union in charge of industrial policy, macroeconomic policy, international trade and sectors such as automobile.

The speakers outlined global trends that will shape the future of the leather industry in Europe. Mike Redwood embarked the audience into a trip into the future with regard to urbanisation, demographics and technology and how these will affect life and consequently production and consumption patterns. Paul Pearson provided an exhaustive account of global production and trade trends in leather highlighting the outlook for the trade and industry in the areas of raw materials, the allocation of resources, hide prices, leather authenticity labelling and CSR. Guido Nelissen concluded the day with a detailed picture of the vision of the largest EU industry trade union with regard to industrial policy in the EU presenting the intelligence and the recommendations collected in the organisation’s Manifesto to put industry back to work.

The debate allowed participants to deepen their understanding on the factors that need to be integrated in the business strategies of European operators so they remain competitive on the global market in the future.


30 April 2015

Clayton & Sedgwick two top vegetable tanners combine forces

Joseph Clayton and Sons Ltd of Chesterfield have concluded an amicable arrangement to take over the assets and business of J.E.Sedgwick & Company Limited in a deal dated the 24th April, 2015.

This will create the largest vegetable tanning group in the UK.The acquisition was initiated to fit with the long term plans of the shareholders and senior management of Claytons.

While the two businesses will continue to run as separate units, retaining the existing management teams, the deal will create an operation with a combined turnover exceeding £6 million. All members of staff will be retained from each company, creating a joint workforce of around 60.

Certain functions such as finance, purchasing and sales will be coordinated to ensure the enlarged organisation will be better placed to support the powerful brands of Sedgwicks and Claytons in the marketplace.

The acquisition, which was financed by Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking, will make Claytons the largest vegetable tannery group in the UK and is predicted to increase turnover by up to 25 per cent.

Ian Walker, Chairman& Managing Director of Claytons said: "While it is easy to see us as two very similar vegetable tanning units in fact our product ranges only have a narrow area of overlap.

“Claytons produce a wide range of bespoke leathers with a variety of end uses while Sedgwicks focus on bridle and saddlery leathers. This is not surprising given that Claytons have developed from an industrial leather background while Sedgwicks have developed out of an equestrian one; our processes, leathers and customers are distinct. So this is not an exercise in consolidation but in growth for two longstanding businesses. We are also pleased to be manufacturing in a location near Walsall, the important centre of UK saddlery and leather goods."

"We are delighted with this outcome for our business" said Richard Farrow, the current Managing Director of Sedgwicks. "Claytons understand our world of vegetable tanned leathers and have a similar heritage to ours. There could be no better custodian to pass our business to."

Richard is the grandson of one of the early owners and managers of J.E.Sedgwick and with his fellow shareholders has been looking at the future of the company as he comes towards retirement. He will remain as Managing Director and also join the board of the expanded group.  

Stephen Denham, relationship manager for Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking, said: “Sedgwicks and Claytons are an ideal fit for one another due to the nature of their work, and this is a transformative deal for both companies that should provide a solid platform for future growth and expansion.

“Our specialist manufacturing teams regularly work with firms to ensure that they have access to the support and guidance necessary to continue to drive their growth, and also receive training from the University of Warwick to ensure that they fully understand the issues faced by firms in the sector.”


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A Future for European Leather!

Objective 2025

logoAFFEL1In January 2015, COTANCE and industriAll-European Trade Union kicked-off a new Social Dialogue project entitled « A Future for European Leather! ». National partners include leather associations and trade unions in France, the UK, Romania, Portugal, Spain, Germany, Austria, Sweden and Italy.

Through the organisation of 4 European Seminars in 2015 and one Final Conference in early 2016, the Social Partners intend to strengthen their dialogue addressing issues of common concern in the areas of Social Affairs, Trade, Industry and the Environment.

Imagining what the European Leather sector could look like in the year 2025 will inspire their discussions. Looking up to a not too distant future, the project aims to identify challenges and opportunities for Leather made in Europe. Assisted by experts, the sector’s Social Partners will come up with new intelligence that will bring about a deeper understanding of the issues at stake in each of the policy areas.

The Seminars will feed the discussions in the sector’s Social Dialogue Committee where the Social Partners will address joint objectives and recommendations in crucial areas of their industrial strategy.

The 4 Seminars will be hosted each in a different European location starting with Bucharest, Romania, where APPBR will organise the first encounter on the theme “Industry” (24 April). It will be followed by the Seminar on “Social Affairs”, organised by FFTM, France, on 18 June. After the summer break, two more events will be organised; one by APIC, Portugal (October) and the other by UKLF, UK (December).

6 February 2015