• cotance@euroleather.com

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

60 public and private stakeholders of the leather/tanning sector attended the one-day event in Brussels that was opened and jointly chaired by Mrs Lucie Studničná, President of CCMI and Mr Jonathan Muirhead (Scottish Leather Group), President of COTANCE. In addition to national employers associations and trade unions, partners in the project, guests included high-level representatives of big brands, the chemical industry, sector education and training centres, lobbies of value chain partners, the press, as well as members of the CCMI and various Commission services directly involved in policy areas of key interest to the leather industry.

Luc Triangle (industriAll) and Gustavo Gonzalez-Quijano (COTANCE), the sector’s EU Social Partners, officially presented their “Manifesto”. The 4-page document summarises the conclusions of the 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 thereby articulates the sector’s main concerns into clear objectives to be reached for ensuring growth and jobs in the European leather sector.

The morning session concluded with two keynote speakers : Mike Redwood and Emmanuelle Butaud-Stubbs further depicted the challenges ahead for the European leather industry, but also its values and strengths.


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


It is important to know where the sectors wants to stand in ten years time!
EU tanneries should export their standards to third countries, not the opposite.

Luc Triangle


The Manifesto is only the beginning. All stakeholders will hopefully continue to cooperate to face up to the identified challenges with initiatives that could be laid down in a ten-year action plan.

Gustavo Gonzalez-Quijano


Leather should not carry the weight of atmospheric emissions that are blamed on livestock.

Mike Redwood


We understand that it is important for the leather sector to promote both the orign and authenticity labelling, which allows the industry to differentiate itself.

Emmanuelle Butaud-Stubbs

The afternoon was dedicated to a panel debate where the issues raised in the Manifesto received an initial feedback from Commission services and allied sector representatives. High-level officers from DG Grow (Mr Carlo Corazza), DG Trade (Mr Luc Devigne) and DG Employment (Sigried Caspar), from the EESC (Mrs Emmanuelle Butaud-Stubbs), Euratex (Mr Francesco Marchi) and sector experts (Federico Brugnoli) made up the Panel. The various statements, comments and remarks of the panellists showed that the Juncker Commission and the respective EU Commissioners in charge of industry, trade and employment have rolled out a number of policy measures that could be exploited to achieve the key objectives of the Social Partners.


EU rules for describing genuine leather are also necessary to protect the consumer.

Carlo Corazza


DG Employment takes note of the needs expressed in the manifesto and invites the social partners to identify clear action points on which they want to work.

Sigried Caspar


The leather industry's trade issues related to raw materials are on the Commission's agenda.

Luc Devigne


The textile/leather/footwear sectors are ahead of the others with their EU Sector Skills Council.

Francesco Marchi


The Commission's PEF initiative constitutes a great opportunity for European tanners to set appropriate product category rules for leather.

Federico Brugnoli