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Eco-footprinting of Leather

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COTANCE welcomes the results of the UNIDO Leather Panel Meeting in Shanghai on Eco-Footprinting of Leather

At its Autumn Council meeting held in Bucharest on 26 September 2012, COTANCE delegates from Italy (UNIC), Spain (ACEXPIEL), France (FFTM), Germany (VDL), United Kingdom (UKLF), Netherlands (FNL), Sweden (SG) and Romania (APPBR) expressed their satisfaction on the results of the debate on Eco-Footprinting of Leather at the Shanghai UNIDO Leather Panel meeting of last 3 and 4 of September.

UNIDO Leather Panel members made up from renowned experts in the sector reviewed a Technical Report presented at an advanced state of completion providing the methodological key for sustaining the Leather sector’s claim to exclude from the LCA system boundaries of the leather value chain the burden of the livestock industry. The methodology is called “System expansion” and was developed in Denmark in the late 1990s for addressing the case of natural resources generating by-products and co-products.

The experts in Shanghai expressed clearly their view that the system boundaries of the leather value chain start at the slaughterhouse with the generation of the hide or skin as a by-product free from the environmental burden of meat and milk production, the actual drivers of their production.

The COTANCE Council salutes UNIDO for bringing this important issue to the attention of all and welcomes the highly positive results of the experts’ debate for the entire leather industry. This will empower the leather sector to have the opportunity to defend itself from being dragged into an unsustainable position and to argue with the right methodological tools for the environmentally sound choice of leather, notably against artificial substitutes.

At the opening of the ICAMS Conference COTANCE also presented the First Social & Environmental Report of the European Leather Industry resulting from the EU sponsored SER III Project, where the social accountability and environmental performance is reported according to the Standard adopted jointly by the EU Social Partners in 2008.

The COTANCE Council delegates expressed their wish that subsequent editions of this document could include a report on the uptake and implementation by the sector’s companies of the results of the UNIDO Leather Panel in Eco-Footprinting of Leather.