• cotance@euroleather.com

Ethics defines the work developed by the European Leather Industry Social Partners

SER20 coverThe Social Partners of the European Leather industry met on 10 December 2020 to review the overall results of their joint EU-sponsored project Leather: Social and Environmental Report 2020 (SER 2020). The public on-line Conference that took place December 1st, closing the initiative, was still fresh in their minds. They had no difficulty in agreeing that it was a total success deserving attention not only from the leather sector’s stakeholders but also from Social Partners of other sectors, who could learn from the example of an industry where workers and business representatives tirelessly work towards improvement in every possible aspect.

Despite the difficult context of the Covid pandemic, which obliged the initiative to change plans from a physical conference in June in Vienna (Austria) to an on-line event, it was extraordinarily successful. Indeed, the event, broadcasted from Brussels on 1st December 2020, brought together over 120 stakeholders of the leather value chain, including tanners, workers’ representatives, brands and retail chains, sector associations, experts, as well as international organisations, the press and NGOs. Time-zones were no obstacles as there were attendants from the US, Brazil and Mexico or Indonesia and Singapore, in addition, of course, to almost all European countries.

A few days after posting the reports on the project website (https://www.euroleather.com/news/projects/european-social-environmental-report),  over a hundred of downloads can be observed while the COTANCE YouTube channel (https://www.youtube.com/channel/UClrf-cd5f5l6BzV7raRAOcA/videos) is constantly recording new visitors to view the conference recordings and the video animations produced to convey key messages derived from the SER 2020 exercise.

All this shows that despite its size, our sector can have a global impact when the message is right!

And the message is indeed, right! The SER Conference opened by COTANCE President Andreas Kindermann (Wollsdorf Leather, Austria) and Judith Kirton-Darling, Deputy Secretary General of industriAll-Europe welcomed six excellent panellists to discuss the results of the SER project and EU policies. Commission Head of Unit in DG Grow, Anna Athanasopoulou, addressed the EU Green Deal and ancillary Action Plans, and Euratex Director Dirk Vantyghem, CEC Secretary General Carmen Arias, Group Director of ESG at Stahl Mike Costello, ICT Secretary Dr Kerry Senior and Pro-GE representative Gerald Kreuzer analysed the implications on the TCLF industry and the expectations of businesses and workers.

If one word could summarise the whole SER exercise, it would be “Ethics”, as it is more ethics that the Social Partners pursue for the leather value chain; in the relations between employers and workers at global level, in the respect for the material leather by alternative competitive materials or by aggressive anti-animal activist organisations, in lightening the sector’s environmental footprint and in the commercial relations between the various links in the leather value chain.

The Social Partners expressed their interest to engage in a repeat SER exercise in due time. 

Final SER20 Conference

The Final Conference of the "Leather: Social and Environmental Report 2020" project took place on 1st December. All documents will be posted here soon.

In the meantime, you may check out the videos presenting our SER20 on our Youtube Channel!





Final Conference - Presentation of the SER 2020



COTANCE and industriAll-Europe will hold the Final Conference of their EU-sponsored "Leather: Social and Environmental Report: 2020" project as an online event on

Tuesday 1st December 2020, 15:00-17:00 CET
Link to the registration form


Speaker Line-Up:

Andreas Kindermann, CEO Wollsdorf Leather, President of COTANCE
Judith Kirton-Darling, Deputy Secretary General of industriAll-Europe
Maurizia Contu, Head of Economic Department, UNIC - Concerie Italiane
Sophie Hivert, General Administrator, Fédération Française de la Tannerie-Mégisserie
Xavier Marginet, Leather Technology Adviser, Acexpiel
Kerry Senior, Secretary of ICT (International Council of Tanners)
Dirk Vantyghem, Director General, EURATEX
Carmen Arias, Secretary General, CEC
Mike Costello, Director of ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance), Stahl
Anna Athanasopoulou, Head of Unit, DG Internal Market/Industry/Entrepreneurship/SMEs, European Commission
Gerald Kreuzer, PRO-GE Austrian Manufacturing Workers Union, Chair TCLF sector - industriAll-Europe

Moderated by
Gustavo Gonzalez-Quijano, Secretary General, COTANCE
Patrizia Pitronaci, Policy Adviser, industriAll-Europe

The partnership of the EU Social Dialogue “SER 20” project gets ready to analyse data for their 2020 Social & Environmental Report


SER 3SCThe Steering Committee of the SER 20 project that aims at the production of the 2020 Social & Environmental Report of the EU Leather industry met in Brussels on Monday 18 November. COTANCE and industriAll-European Trade Union were joined by UNIC-Concerie Italiane, ACEXPIEL (Spain), FFTM (France), VDL (Germany), Leather UK (United Kingdom), APIC (Portugal) and SG (Sweden), all partners in the project.

After several weeks dedicated to the collection of data amongst enterprises, the partners reviewed the turnout and assessed the representativeness of the sample. Collected company data on environmental and social indicators will be aggregated at European level and used for analysing the performance of Europe’s tanning industry. While sufficient in certain countries, the number of filled-in questionnaires could certainly improve in others. Tanners need to be reassured on the benefits of contributing to collective actions. Exercises such as gathering figures are clearly time-consuming. They require efforts, both from tanneries and their associations. However, the return on investment is more than proportional; the SER, where all contributors will be duly acknowledged, will provide participating tanneries with a powerful communication material for their clients. Indeed, more and more leather customers and value chain stakeholders now require supporting documents showing sustainability credentials of suppliers. The EU leather industry is exemplary in that regard. Why not show it?

The partnership also reviewed the results of the British and Italian workshops, respectively held in Northampton on 19 September and Milano on 2 October. The UK workshop sought to examine options for addressing recruitment, and training, and considered the training and skills issues facing the leather sector, both currently and with a view to its future needs. The Italian workshop was dedicated to Sustainability Partnerships with a focus on raw materials. It served to communicate the strategies of the supply chain to provide guarantees regarding animal welfare, traceability, deforestation and the quality of raw materials.

The next workshops will take place in Budapest (3 December), Bucharest (5 December), Igualada (23 January), and Alcanena (30 January). The German workshop is yet to be scheduled.

The Final Conference of the project will be held in Vienna on 16 June.

The next Steering Committee meeting will take place on 23 March.

COTANCE and industriAll-Europe review progress of their joint project on Social & Environmental Reporting

 SERThe SER 2020 project that will produce the 2020 Social & Environmental Report of the EU Leather industry is steered by a committee comprised of representatives from Italy (UNIC-Concerie Italiane), Spain (ACEXPIEL), France (FFTM), Germany (VDL), UK (Leather UK), Hungary (AHLI), Romania (APPBR), Portugal (APIC), together with both EU Social Partners, industriAll- European Trade Union and COTANCE.

The exercise includes the collection of social and environmental performance data for the period, 2016-2018, from a representative sample of European tanneries for the production of the 2nd Social & Environmental Report of the European Leather Industry. This follow-up publication to the 2012 Report will not only analyse the progress in the social & environmental performance of tanneries, but also the new tools and instruments produced by the EU sector for advancing on the path of sustainability. This will include the Product Environmental Footprint Category Rules (PEFCR) for leather and the updated OiRA tool (On-line Interactive Risk Assessment) for assessing workplace health & safety risks in tanneries.

The project will also stage Workshops in a number of countries addressing issues of joint interest to the Social Partners at national level.

The collection of company and country reports for processing by COTANCE has started. Completed questionnaires have been anonymised before aggregation for subsequent analysis. The aim is to gather a representative sample from each participating country, from which to extrapolate valid conclusions for the EU tanning industry.

The Steering Committee met in the premises of industriAll-Europe on 8 July in Brussels. The Committee is reasonably satisfied with the progress achieved so far but calls on the sector’s companies who have not yet returned their filled in questionnaires not to delay their submission. The project partners are prepared to assist companies needing support in providing the requested information.

The next Steering Committee meeting will take place on 18 November.

Website: http://www.euroleather.com/socialreporting/

SER20 - The Steering Committee holds it first meeting in the framework of the new Social Dialogue project that aims the drafting of the 2nd European Social and Environmental Report.

SC 190227 red


The delegates from ACEXPIEL (ES), AHLI (HU), APPBR (RO), FFTM (FR), UKLF (UK), UNIC (IT) and VDL (DE) met in Brussels at the COTANCE headquarters and, since this first meeting was open to observers, were joined by a representative of BDSZ, the Hungarian trade union.


The main focus of the meeting concerned the review of the questionnaire used in the 2012 exercise, its update and development, as well as the methodology to be adopted for collecting the necessary company data. Indeed, developing a report on the social and environmental performance of an industry is not a simple exercise. Tanneries in Europe are already solicited by other reporting exercises to both public and private stakeholders, that it is important to justify well an additional one and to balance appropriately the extent and depth of the exercise.

COTANCE and industriAll-Europe understand that it is important for the image of Europe’s leather industry to highlight in the Social & Environmental Report 2020 the progress achieved by the sector’s companies since 2012. Markets ask for information on sustainability performance of the leather industry, labour wants to know the kind of industry it is engaging with, tanners like to benchmark their results against overall sector data and media need accurate information for avoiding that fake news take the overhand in the public perception of the leather industry. The 2020 report can become a powerful tool for responding to all these needs. It’s an opportunity for Europe’s leather industry and all project partners are very conscious on transmitting this message to their affiliated companies when confronting them with a questionnaire that will require the collection of some 37 social and 39 environmental parameters.

The project partners took particular care in ensuring the anonymity of the company contributions and decided on a two-tier data aggregation methodology capable of guaranteeing confidentiality.

Project partners agreed to finalise the questionnaire by the end of March so as to allow more time for the apposite data collection.