At a time when European citizens were reflecting on their vote and who will be sitting in the next European Parliament, COTANCE member associations and their tanners gathered to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of their common representative body. They chose for this Paris where COTANCE was born and the Auditorium of the Académie de l’Agriculture de France for the open session of the Assembly General.

COTANCE, created in 1969 in Paris, has been representing the leather industry and Its interests at European and international level over the last 50 years. This celebration, besides being a moment of festivity, has been an occasion to pause and reflect over this fifty-year journey, and at the same time, to look into the future of the European leather industry.

European Leather for the Future was indeed the leading thread of the event's interventions: from the welcoming speeches hold by Jérôme Verdier, President of Tannerie ALRAN SAS and President of FFTM (Fédération Française de la Tannerie Mégisserie – French Federation of Tanners) and by Andreas Kindermann, current COTANCE President from Wollsdorf Leather (Austria), passing through the European and international institutional' views of Anna Athanasopoulou from DG Grow at European Commission and Maria Teresa Pisani from the Economic Cooperation and Trade Division at UNECE, and last but not least with the perspective of a luxury brand by Chiara Morelli (Group Operations Sustainability Manager at Kering).

"COTANCE serves as a shield," asserted its president, Andreas Kindermann. "In all these years which have passed, we have seen many successes also some failures, highs and lows, times of booming business and times of crisis… but the European leather industry is resilient. It never ‘gave up’ and cooperation was decisive!"

Drawing the conclusions of the event, COTANCE President Kindermann, stressed how the importance of sustainability in the leather value chain was highlighted by each panellist. He emphasised that sustainability is a key priority of COTANCE, as it had been demonstrated with the setting at EU level the rules for calculating the environmental footprint of leather.

He also pointed out that the European leather industry with its high standards is well positioned for the future and further improvements of the environmental performance of the European industry. "For the future of the leather industry, we aim at zero-waste if we want the tanning industry to be recognised as excelling in the circular economy."