The Global Resource for the Leather Industry

14 September 2019

In line with many other international organisations, the International Council of Tanners deplores the apparently uncontrolled deforestation of the Amazon as an enormous threat to the global environment.

However, we view any blanket ban on the use of Brazilian leather as a too easy kneejerk reaction for public relations purposes.

Our organisation is confident that the leather industries from Brazil and from many other countries in the world seek the best practices in the sector regarding traceability, recycling, and environmental practices.

Over the last few years, the Brazilian leather industry has adopted the most important international environmental certifications available for the leather industry, such as the Leather Working Group (LWG) and ISO 14001,  meeting all the sustainability and traceability requirements that any client may ask. Please note that one of these important certifications is the Brazilian Leather Certificate of Sustainability, which is an audited certification system that meets all the requirements of INMETRO, the Brazilian National Institute if Metrology, Quality and Technology. The certification system covers Economic, Social, Sustainability Management and Environmental performance, and includes the traceability of raw material, with suppliers being required to trace the origin of slaughtered animals.

Many Brazilian tanneries, representing a major proportion of production, are involved in the certifications system and it is open to all leather buyers to purchase Brazilian leather from certified sources. Leather buyers are constantly requesting that tanners demonstrate their environmental credentials, and it is a disappointment to see these efforts ignored with a blanket ban.

We would also add a reminder that no cattle, sheep, pigs or goats (which together provide the raw material for over 99 per cent of global leather production) are never raised for their hides or skins. If the leather industry did not process these by-products of the meat, dairy and wool industries, the world would be faced with an enormous waste disposal problem.

Paul Pearson

Secretary – ICT