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Final Press Release

COTANCE and ETUF:TCL conclude their joint project on transparency of the origin of hides & skins and traceability of raw materials with a set of recommendations

On June 7, 2012 in Barcelona, the European Social Partners of the Leather industry, COTANCE and industriAll - European Trade Union (former ETUF:TCL) held the Final Meeting of their EU sponsored project on Traceability. Mrs Rosella Ravagli Head of GUCCI’s CSR department attended the event as invited guest speaker presenting the Luxury brand’s pioneering CSR Strategy. In the audience were the representatives of the national leather trade associations from Italy (UNIC), Spain (ACEXPIEL), France (FFTM), Germany (VDL), United Kingdom (UKLF), Sweden (SG), Netherlands (FNL), Switzerland (VSG) and Romania (APPBR).
The initiative that aimed at collecting relevant intelligence on the issues regarding the traceability of tanners’ raw materials and identifying the means for a greater transparency in the trade on the origin of hides and skins has been a full success.
In a section of the dedicated Web-Site (http://www.euroleather.com/suppliesandtransparency/), European Tanners can find the kernel of a database containing:
- 22 standard “Briefs” analysing media news on issues regarding the supply sector and their possible effects on the image of the industry and on the leather markets,
- 21 standard “Briefs” analysing technical and documentary traceability methods currently available, including applicability and an assessment of their costs.
This database (restricted to Members-only) is meant to be further developed with up-to-date information supplied by the sector using the standard template for those Briefs.

In Barcelona, the European Leather Industry endorsed the Project Report that analyses the responses of an EU-wide industry consultation assessing the perception of the subject matter and formulates Conclusions & Recommendations.
In the Conclusions one can read:
“European tanners are interested in a more pro-active attitude with regard to transparency and traceability but recognise also the practical difficulties of implementing a particular strategy. The need to protect commercially confidential information on the one hand and the involvement of stakeholders on the other hand need to be taken into account.”
Regarding recommendations on documental or technical instruments that record facts on the origin and conditions of hides & skins it says:
“The European regulatory environment regarding veterinary/sanitary certificates on hides & skins as well as to animal welfare needs to be explored for its ability to serve as a basis on which to build a guarantee system of good practice.”
At the end of this one-year project, the Social Partners of the European Leather Industry understand to have delivered a very useful first building block  on the subject matter that needs to be continued with further action in Social Dialogue.

Barcelona, 7 June 2012