Ron Sauer has issued the following update.

‘All present (at the seminar) agreed there is work to be done if we want to try and avoid a repeat of what the raw hides and skins and leather trades have gone through in the past six months and which is continuing today. Or at least to take some action to guide us in the right direction, away from the lawlessness of the present day.’

‘The conclusion is that the only organisations who have the legal background, the international experience and (albeit limited) infrastructure are the ICT (International Council of Tanners) and ICHSLTA (International Council of Hide Skin and Leather Traders Associations). Unfortunately both organisations have declined in recent years due to the lack of interest by their members and because of lack of funds.

Both the ICT and ICHSLTA are nurtured and supported by national associations. The commercial interests however are with individual companies, not with national associations. It is all about money at the end of the day. Money made or lost is by companies, not associations. This just to make clear where the interests lay exactly. ‘

‘It seems essential that if individual companies want something to be done about the problems they have been experiencing and are still facing today, they must instigate their national associations to take action. The necessary impulse to start a reorganisation process to lead to an improvement for all concerned can only come from the industry itself.’

‘With enough input the national associations can then instigate the ICT and ICHSLTA, the existing international associations or, even create a new association able to act for both parties. The latter seems logical and less expensive. The national associations should come to an agreement to supply the international organisation(s) with the resources needed to actually achieve results by which all in the industry can benefit. Resources such as permanent manpower and funds.’

‘It is felt by many in the leather business that their own national associations have not been doing enough for them and thus they cancel their membership. They forget to add that those same members have never coughed-up enough cash to actually allow the associations to work effectively in the way that was needed. And now the same members or rather ex-members are paying the price. With national and international associations run by volunteers and one paid secretary you don’t get very far if you want to organise and guide the operations of a multi billion dollar global industry and protect the interests of its tanners and traders.

The Brazilian leather association, CICB has already extended an invitation to proceed with a much needed re-organisation process during their leather fair (Couromoda) next January. However, January is far away and the problems are here now. Also the organisers of the APLF confirmed they are always ready to support such action. But nothing will happen if the industry itself does not pump fuel into its own associations. Take your pick!’