Cotance launch study on raw material traceability

19 July 2011

The European Association representing the leather industry, Cotance and ETUF:TCL represented by their respective Chief Executives, Gustavo Gonzalez-Quijano and Luc Triangle, met on July 6, 2011 in Brussels to begin their EU sponsored project on raw material traceability. This one-year initiative aims at collecting relevant intelligence from European countries on the issues regarding the traceability of tanners’ raw materials and identifying the means for a greater transparency in the trade on the origin of hides and skins.

European tanners, their customers and consumers are increasingly sensitive to issues regarding socially and environmentally responsible procurement and animal welfare say Cotance. Better governance would improve the current situation where tanners do not always have the means to identify the origin and history of raw materials, and this could minimise risks or negative impacts on business and employment in the leather sector.

The project intends to carry out the following steps:

1. Identifying the adverse impact on the sector, its operators and workforce when tanning is accused of social, environmental or animal welfare mismanagement.
2. Assessing the awareness of the sector on these matters.
3. Focus on the technical instruments that record data on the origin and condition of hides & skins in order to allow the sector’s companies to respond pro-actively to adverse situations.

The project will be managed by Cotance in full cooperation with ETUF:TCL. National social partners (national associations) will be involved from 13 European countries.  Each country will investigate the following as ‘desk-top’ research:

a) ‘Political’: publicity and news in the media, assessment of the impact on the sector and an assessment of advantages gained through a traceability/transparency system.
b) ‘Technical’: practical methods for tracing hides & skins will be assessed.

At the end of the one-year project, the Cotance will provide the sector’s operators with a joint recommendation for further action after having assessed the various options available and evaluated those that are suitable for the industry.

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