Italy’s main tanning industry body UNIC has said the country’s leather producers are ending 2016 with a small decline year on year, but with good reasons for being hopeful about business in 2017.
UNIC published a new sustainability report on December 16 and included details of the industry’s performance in the first nine months of 2016. “There is a slight decline,” the organisation said of the figures for production and export of Italian leather, “but nothing traumatic. The market shows signs of stabilising and there are some interesting possibilities opening up for 2017.”
In the period from January-September 2016, Italian tanners recorded a 4% decline in the value of their production and exports. However, UNIC pointed out on releasing the new report that there was also growth in some important markets. It gave the US as the best example of this, saying exports of Italian leather to the US had grown by 12% in the nine-month period, suggesting that 2016 will be the seventh consecutive year of export growth for UNIC members in that market.
The news from China was less good: a decline of 18% year on year.
This new publication is UNIC’s fourteenth annual sustainability report. The organisation’s president, Gianni Russo, said at the time of the launch that the report shows “the commitment of the Italian tanning sector to pursue sustainability in our production and processes”. He said this commitment benefits the entire leather value chain, allowing all manufacturers involved “to create value and achieve absolute excellence” in the products they make.
In giving examples of this commitment to sustainability, the report says Italy’s tanning sector reduced its water use by 18% between 2003 and 2013, and its energy consumption by 19% over the same period.