The COTANCE Bologna Council sends an alarm message to European trade authorities on raw material prices
Bologna hosted on October 11, 2013, on the sideline of the Lineapelle Fair, the autumn Council of COTANCE gathering representatives from Italy, Spain, France, United Kingdom, Germany, Portugal, Sweden and Romania.
Important topics were on the agenda regarding the Environmental Footprint of leather and the EU Pilot for developing official Product Category Rules for Leather that COTANCE applied for to the European Commission, EU labelling of leather, Safety of Products and origin marking, as well as the EU rules on Cr VI restriction and the labelling of products treated with biocide products, among others.
Discussions focalised however on the current market situation and perspectives for raw material prices that are remaining at historic high levels and squeeze European tanners progressively into a non-sustainable business scenario. Every day brings new information on supplier countries throttling exports of raw hides, skins and wet-blue. More and more countries are adopting more and more protectionist measures reducing the supply in the “open market” and competitors operating behind such “protecting walls” increasingly consume those resources remaining. Argentina, Brazil, Andean Countries, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Indonesia, Russia, Ukraine, Morocco, Nigeria, etc. and now also Turkey don’t allow European tanners to source freely raw materials in their domestic market while they raid barrier-free markets such as Europe. Without reciprocity Europe’s leather industry has its days numbered.
European tanners are not seeing their trade authorities bringing home any relief. There are even authorities in EU Member States that do not support the collection of statistical evidence (a monitoring exercise) that would allow appreciating officially whether there is a need for emergency action that would be legally applicable. This illustrates the drift that pushes more and more European industrialists and workers into distrust in politics. This is not an ideal situation with European elections and new Commission at the doorstep (2014).
Europe needs to make up its mind whether it wants to keep the World’s top of the class leather industry at home generating wealth and employment or whether it will surrender without resistance to unfair trade barriers and rogue business practices.
Brussels, 14 October 2013
Giuseppe Baiardo receives COTANCE General Assembly delegates in his revolutionary Concept Footwear Plant
Iris Group CEO, Giuseppe Baiardo, currently within the Onward Kashiyama Luxury Group, opened to COTANCE delegates the doors of the newly inaugurated plant in the Riviera del Brento.
The representatives of the European leather industry and their European Commission guest of honour, Mr Jean François Aguinaga, had the opportunity to learn about the highly sophisticated business model that provides high-end brands top level services from the idea of a pair of shoes born in the creative mind of a stylist until the industrialisation of production passing through crucial steps from design to prototyping including 3D modelling.
Giuseppe Baiardo invited his hosts to a concluding drink in the reception facilities on the roof of the futuristic building where he entertained further passionate exchanges with them.
COTANCE expressed its gratitude for the eye-opening tour of the facilities and the kind and pleasant hospitality.
COTANCE visits the new Louis Vuitton footwear manufacturing plant in Fiesso
The delegates of the COTANCE Assembly General held on 20/21 June in Venice were invited to visit the new L. Vuitton footwear manufacturing plant in Fiesso, a rare privilege granted to few selected stakeholders of the famous leather brand.
There, European tanners had the opportunity to witness how art and technology are wisely and carefully blended in an industrial culture devoted to the excellence and beauty of leather. It is not by chance that L. Vuitton had decided investing in this part of the world its global footwear creations. It is in Europe where the passion for design, material science, craftsmanship and high-tech drive the leather industry to ever higher levels of luxury.
It is not the first time that COTANCE has been granted the honour and pleasure to sharing with L. Vuitton a reflection on the present and future of the leather industry. The first encounter took place in 2008 during the Presidency of former COTANCE Chairman Jean Claude Ricomard (Tanneries Roux, France). On that occasion COTANCE was invited to visit L.Vuitton’s historic leathergoods facility in Asnières-sur-Seine near Paris.
COTANCE Presidency calls for official monitoring of the critical shortage of hides & skins on the EU market that drives prices to unsustainable levels
The COTANCE Presidency met on April 3, 2013 in Bologna under the chairmanship of Mr Rino Mastrotto (Rino Mastrotto Group, Italy) on the sidelines of the Lineapelle Fair, Europe’s largest Leather Fair. They expressed high concern on the developments on the raw materials market. Availability of certain essential raw materials is vanishing at an increasing speed due to rising extra-EU export levels of hides and skins and prices that are reaching unprecedented levels. Those most affected are the hides and skins to be destined for the World’s top fashion and high-end industries, the brands that make the prestige of Europe. They depend on the quality leathers that are the speciality of EU tanners.
European tanners, already enduring the credit crunch in the Euro zone, witness the proliferation of export restrictions on raw materials in most resource-rich countries and the drain of Europe’s own raw materials. They find it intolerable that public authorities continue to ignore the gravity of the situation. It is high time for taking the necessary measures capable of redressing this situation that is taking hostage a leading industrial sector in Europe. Failure to do so could compromise seriously the competitiveness of Europe’s leather sector, the cradle of the creation of wealth and employment in the leather value chain.
COTANCE is a founding member of CheMI.
CheMI is a platform for downstream users of chemicals in manufacturing industries. It works as a channel for the downstream users in article producing industries to represent their interests and aims at contributing to the successful implementation of REACH.
CheMI was established in 2003. Its members are trade associations representing a variety of sectors and comprising approximately 400.000 companies and 7 million employees, for a turnover of more than € 670 million. CheMI constituency consists mainly of SMEs.
CheMI's Position Statements and further information on the CheMI Platform can be obtained by visiting this page.
COTANCE calls on the European Commission not to delay the procedures for regulating at EU level the use of leather terms and the labelling including origin of leather products within the current legislature
The COTANCE Council met on February 18, 2013 in Brussels under the chairmanship of President Rino Mastrotto (Rino Mastrotto Group, IT) reviewing among others progress on one of its priority policies: the legal protection of the term Leather against abuse and mis-descriptions. This is a matter on which the international leather community is looking for authoritative solutions coming from Europe.
In this respect COTANCE has engaged in an ICT supported Campaign aiming at regulating at EU level the lawful use of the term leather and the uniform composition labelling of leather products on the model of the EU Footwear Labelling Directive. Last 30 July 2012, COTANCE President Mastrotto with his colleagues in the Presidency received from Commission Vice-President Antonio Tajani assurances on the taking up of this objective.
As a result, the Commission Staff Working Document on POLICY OPTIONS FOR THE COMPETITIVENESS OF THE EUROPEAN FASHION INDUSTRIES — ‘WHERE MANUFACTURING MEETS CREATIVITY’ (SWD(2012) 284 final/2) adopted on October 5, 2012 states that “… while the labelling of textiles and footwear (including leather footwear) is regulated at EU level, no EU legislation covers the labelling of leather and leather products as such.”, and indicates that “The Commission will therefore explore the need for and feasibility of labelling in the field of leather and leather products at EU level.”