The Steering Committee of the SER 20 project that aims at the production of the 2020 Social & Environmental Report of the EU Leather industry met in Brussels on Monday 18 November. COTANCE and industriAll-European Trade Union were joined by UNIC-Concerie Italiane, ACEXPIEL (Spain), FFTM (France), VDL (Germany), Leather UK (United Kingdom), APIC (Portugal) and SG (Sweden), all partners in the project.
After several weeks dedicated to the collection of data amongst enterprises, the partners reviewed the turnout and assessed the representativeness of the sample. Collected company data on environmental and social indicators will be aggregated at European level and used for analysing the performance of Europe’s tanning industry. While sufficient in certain countries, the number of filled-in questionnaires could certainly improve in others. Tanners need to be reassured on the benefits of contributing to collective actions. Exercises such as gathering figures are clearly time-consuming. They require efforts, both from tanneries and their associations. However, the return on investment is more than proportional; the SER, where all contributors will be duly acknowledged, will provide participating tanneries with a powerful communication material for their clients. Indeed, more and more leather customers and value chain stakeholders now require supporting documents showing sustainability credentials of suppliers. The EU leather industry is exemplary in that regard. Why not show it?
The partnership also reviewed the results of the British and Italian workshops, respectively held in Northampton on 19 September and Milano on 2 October. The UK workshop sought to examine options for addressing recruitment, and training, and considered the training and skills issues facing the leather sector, both currently and with a view to its future needs. The Italian workshop was dedicated to Sustainability Partnerships with a focus on raw materials. It served to communicate the strategies of the supply chain to provide guarantees regarding animal welfare, traceability, deforestation and the quality of raw materials.
The next workshops will take place in Budapest (3 December), Bucharest (5 December), Igualada (23 January), and Alcanena (30 January). The German workshop is yet to be scheduled.
The Final Conference of the project will be held in Vienna on 16 June.
The next Steering Committee meeting will take place on 23 March.