Europe is an important player in the international leather trade. With some 25% of the world's leather production and one of the largest and most dynamic consumer markets for leather articles, Europe stands out as the leading force in international business circles in relation to leather and tanning.
With a turnover of nearly € 8 billion, over 3 000 companies and some 50 000 people directly employed in the sector, Europe's tanneries demonstrate their competitiveness on the global market. Their products are renowned and appreciated by manufacturers worldwide for their quality and fashionable designs. European leathers are exported all over the world to satisfy the highest standards, the most stringent ecological regulations and the increasing expectations of quality aware consumers.
Tanners in Europe have a long tradition of producing all kinds of leather, from bovine and calf leather to sheep and goat leather, from sole and exotic specialities to double-face garment leather. Their expertise contributes to the success of leading footwear, garment, furniture and leathergoods manufacturers. This solid experience and the outstanding know-how of European tanners and dressers is displayed at major international fairs. All this explains the continuously strong demand for their products on international markets.
In the last decade, European finished leather exports to other regions in the world have experienced an extraordinary development. Manufacturers in new and emerging markets are particularly keen to develop trade relations with European tanners and to work closely with them.
Small and medium sized companies predominate in the European tanning sector. The consequent flexibility, adaptability and the quick response to demand constitutes one of the industry's most important assets. Larger companies, however, excell thanks to their capacity to be at the forefront of technological developments and to constitute reliable partners in global business activities. Technological leadership, fashion, design, quality, excellent raw materials and the sense of service to the customer are all factors contributing to the strength of European tanners. Continuing modernisation combined with investment in training, environmental infrastructure, R&D and export promotion allows the industry's operators to look to the future with confidence.
The European leather industry is committed to a socially and environmentally sustainable development.