20 June 2023
In the position statement it issued following its general assembly for 2023, the leather industry’s representative body in the European Union (EU), COTANCE, has accused the European Parliament of failing to give leather due consideration in its proposed textile strategy. Report by Leatherbiz.
A vote in the European Parliament on June 1 overwhelmingly approved recommendations published earlier in a wider textiles industry strategy, formally called the EU Strategy for Sustainable and Circular Textiles. These recommendations will now go before the European Commission and the heads of government of the 27 member states for approval.
In its statement, COTANCE said the strategy failed to acknowledge the challenges the leather industry in Europe faces. It added that it had also failed to highlight the opportunities that the leather sector has.
COTANCE said leather manufacturers in Europe had been left wondering if they will be excluded from support measures the EU put in place to help companies “transition towards a green and digital future”.
It called on the EU to acknowledge and promote the advantages of leather as a material that is intrinsically in keeping with the circular economy, and to provide the necessary support to Europe’s tanners to manage the transition.
The strategy is supposed to cover textiles, clothing, leather and footwear. COTANCE said it was regrettable and misleading for only one of these industrial segments to dominate the discussion.
In the position paper, it called for the EU authorities to recognise that hides and skins are not produced on demand, but are a by-product of the production of meat for human consumption. COTANCE also called for a review the EU’s new policy on deforestation; COTANCE wants the EU to acknowledge that leather is not a driver of deforestation.
“Europe’s leather industry provides an essential service to the EU economy by recycling the residues of the livestock and meat sector, generating wealth and employment and producing safe and beautiful products for consumers,” the position paper concluded.