30 June 2022
The leather industry’s representative body in the European Union, COTANCE, has issued a statement to refute claims in a recent report from campaign group Global Witness linking the leather industry to deforestation in the Amazon, reports Leatherbiz.
COTANCE said in response that it deplored deforestation and forest degradation and the damage they cause to the planet, but it added: “The European leather industry rejects allegations that the leather value chain is a driver of deforestation.”
It acknowledged that the leather industry creates jobs and income by recycling residues from the meat industry, but pointed out that leather gives livestock farmers no incentive to raise cattle, on illegally deforested land or anywhere else.
“The value of hides in the revenue generated by the meat industry is so small (0-2%) that its influence on the breeding and slaughtering of animals can be disregarded,” COTANCE said. “Hides and skins are increasingly destroyed in many places, as the demand for leather is under attack. This is a sad development that favours plastic, while a natural, renewable and valuable resource is being lost. This is a big economic and environmental mistake.”
It said the leather industry takes pride in considering itself a recycling activity, generating revenue and jobs by transforming a by-product into one of the most versatile and beautiful materials in the world. “Leather is one of the oldest examples of the circular economy,” it explained.
It concluded: “The world’s forests will not be saved by halting the leather trade.”