Ensuring tomorrow’s European leather industry

donderdag 4 februari 2016   COTANCE and industriAll Europe launched their joint Manifesto at the final conference of « A Future for European Leather! » in Brussels. The event was attended to its maximum capacity of 60 participants. The European leather industry represents 30.000 workers in the tanning sector and 85.000 workers in the leather goods sector, not including the 280.000 workers in the footwear sector , which makes it a concern to industriAll Europe. Tanners are present all over Europe and are the most active in Italy, Spain, Portugal, Romania, France, Germany & the United Kingdom.

The Manifesto is the result of the coordinated 4 seminars held in 2015 in the framework of the Social Dialogue engaging experts and social partners. “The leather industry is at a crossroad for its development in Europe” as stated in the final report. These seminars debated the reflections and recommendations needed to  address and shape tomorrow’s leather industry. Four different areas were identified as crucial  to the industry’s future: 1/ industrial issues, 2/ Social/Societal issues, 3/ Trade issues 4/ Environment issues. The  European Social Partners formulated in their Leather Manifesto a number of recommendations, such as:


  • To fund Research & Development + Innovation (R&D+i) to adapt to the digital developments in the market and marketing conditions for leather along the leather supply chain and down to the final consumer.
  • Provision of legal tools for identifying and labelling leather.


  • To ensure the renewal of the workforce to preserve the transmission of ‘the know how’ and the acquisition of new skills.
  • Build up coherent national and European policies and strategies to deal with the challenges of an ageing workforce, a lack of technical schools and universities, and a growing shortage of skilled and qualified workforce.
  • Maintain and strengthen national and European social dialogue to deal with the challenges and anticipate better with the current and upcoming changes in the leather supply chain.


  • To put an end to unfair competitive trade measures and violations of the current legitimate trade rights by putting in place fair social and environmental trading standards towards foreign leather sectors.
  • Stop the asymmetry in trading conditions of raw materials and products along the supply chain and with all those trading partners competing on the same markets.
  • Focus on the creation of a social and environmental level playing field for our industry in Trade agreements between the European Union and its trade partners.


  • To support for Research & Development and for the implementation at company level of product and process innovations allowing leather to play fully its role in the circular economy.

The Manifesto puts together our common objectives and recommendations to crop with tomorrow’s crucial turn in the European leather industry. ‘industriAll Europe will play their role to make sure tomorrow’s European Leather Industry prosper and grow and create sustainable quality jobs’ stated Luc Triangle, Deputy General Secretary industriAll Europe.

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