Exports of semi-tanned and finished leather start 2023 with increases

Original content by: Lederpiel

Exports from the Spanish tanning industry began the year with significant increases in the subsectors of processed and semi-tanned leather. If 2022 closed setting foreign sales records not seen in decades, this year looks equally good, or better, for exporting companies in the sector.

Thus, according to data from the General Directorate of Customs, in January 2023 compared to the same month in 2022, exports of raw hides fell by 8.2% (1 million euros less), while those of semi-tanned leather shot up 24% (1.5 million euros more) and those of tanned leather increased 22.6% (6.5 million euros more).

When comparing the first month of 2023 with January of 2020, prior to the covid-19 pandemic, sales of raw hides fell by 24.1%, while semi-tanned leather increased by 45.3% and tanned, 21.1%.


Regarding imports of hides and leather, in January 2023 compared to 2022, purchases abroad of raw hides fell by 15.4% (0.8 million euros less); imports of semi-tanned leather, 16% (1.4 million euros less) and, finally, those of tanned leather increased 12.1% (2.5 million euros more).

Compared to January 2020, sales of raw hides decreased by 37.5% and semi-tanned leather by 20.7%, while those of tanned leather increased by 14.8%.

Consequently, the trade balance for leather in January 2023 showed an imbalance in general terms in favor of exports of 19.3 million euros.

You can read the original post HERE.

Towards a Zero Impact of the tanning industry in Europe

Original content by: Lederpiel

The Confederation of National Associations of Tanners of the European Community (Cotance) and the European union IndustriALL organized in mid-April in Valencia the conference Towards a Zero Impact of the Tanning Industry in Europe. With this meeting, the aim was to share different business and labor strategies to make the tanning industry a more sustainable and respectful sector with the health and safety of its workers. Among other topics, those attending the conference spoke about how to reduce the carbon footprint, as well as actions aimed at minimizing the accident rate in workplaces. During the day, a couple of visits were also made to two Spanish tanneries.

The event was attended by, among other actors from the tanning industry, representatives of Cotance such as Manuel Ríos and Gustavo González-Quijano; Carmen Arias, general secretary of the European Confederation of the Footwear Industry (CEC), and Anna García, director of the Spanish tanning employers’ association Acexpiel, as well as members of the IndustriALL and UGT-FICA unions and the European Safety Agency and Health at Work (EU-OSHA).

You can read the original post HERE

Industry celebrates World Leather Day 2023

Original content by: International Leather Maker

The industry came together on April 26 to celebrate the second-ever World Leather Day, organised by Leather Naturally and the Leather Working Group (LWG). Launched in 2022, this day is an opportunity for the industry to unite in celebrating leather as a material and spread messaging on its unique advantages across many industries.

In the words of the organisers: “There are many complicated messages about how to live more sustainably, but leather is not complicated. Simply put, without it, around 10 million tonnes would go to landfill».

“In a world where we are trying to do more with less, keep waste to a minimum, and where we have the expertise and the technology to turn this by-product into a versatile, long-lasting material we have a responsibility to do just that.”

Longevity is a highlight of the celebrations this year, and Leather Naturally noted how our global environmental impact can be reduced by buying fewer things and choosing those that last a long time. This year, World Leather Day celebrated the long-lasting beauty of leather and its place in the circular economy.

To get involved today on social media, you can use the hashtags #WorldLeatherDay and #WorldLeatherDay2023, tag Leather Naturally and Leather Working Group and direct visitors to their websites to learn more about the leather industry.

You can read the original post HERE

Water use and leather production

Original content by: Real Leather

The tanning industry is often regarded as one with very high water consumption because historically, it has been. But great strides have been taken to change this, and still many companies are striving to do better.

The benefits of using less water for tanning can be more than just the obvious. They can also mean fewer chemicals are needed, which, of course, will reduce the amount of residual chemicals and pollutants that need to be treated.

The treatment of water is also key. If the water that is used is cleaned well enough, it can be returned to the environment meaning that any losses are marginal – the water can be reused by the tannery or to irrigate crops.

The Sustainable Leather Foundation

The Sustainable Leather Foundation (SLF) is one of the organisations working hard to assess water use by tanners in order to work to reduce it. There are 32 tanneries across the world who are SLF partners, and their water use falls well under the benchmark that was established to measure it.

There is a whole raft of measures tanners are taking to lower their water consumption.

  • Reducing the number of washing processes for each hide
  • Using fresh hides which do not need salt removal
  • Using more efficient machinery
  • Reusing and recycling water
  • Reducing chemical use or using biodegradable chemicals

Processes have been refined so much recently that the amount of water used has reduced by 35% in the last 25 years. And, with the reuse of water and the refining of techniques, that reduction is continuing.

You can read the original post HERE

Leather also has a role to play in the fight against deforestation

Original content by: Lederpiel

How many cows are killed to make a luxury bag? The correct answer is none.

According to a latest report from the NGO World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), leather is entirely a by-product of the meat and dairy industries. Consequently, leather manufacturers are crucial players in stopping the deforestation of forests. This study supports and acknowledges the need to use leather as a by-product and also clearly demonstrates the importance of considering full life cycle analysis of leather.

«Leather is one of the oldest forms of recycling known. There are many benefits to using leather as a by-product of livestock production», WWF explains in its report. «Leather also has a role to play in fighting deforestation». However, the NGO points out that the leather industry can play a leading role in the fight against deforestation of our forests, mainly by pressuring ranchers to engage in sustainable grazing and livestock practices. The sale of raw hides can be an economic incentive for farmers. For this reason, according to the WWF, the tanners should use their influence over them to put pressure on them and thus prevent them from continuing to destroy natural ecosystems for the intensive farming of cattle herds.

«Leather is an important by-product of livestock production with a rich history. Its durability and position as a luxury item make it a highly desirable material for consumers. The increase in meat consumption globally means that hides will continue to exist on the market and, if not used for leather, they are often wasted, creating methane while sitting in a landfill», the WWF report concludes. «The leather industry has an opportunity to intensify and strengthen its efforts to eliminate deforestation and improve the beef supply chain through the additional income that hide sales bring to producers. Companies that purchase leather can use their influence to drive change and accelerate the protection of habitats at risk», warns the study. «Leather also has a role to play in the fight against deforestation».

You can download the study HERE

And you can read the original post HERE

Spanish hides and leather exports confirm their recovery in 2022

Original content by: Lederpiel

2022 was undoubtedly the year of the recovery of exports from the tanning industry in Spain. Foreign sales of leather and hides closed 2022 with a significant increase compared to 2021 and before the pandemic in 2019. In this way, the recovery of foreign sales of all subsectors (processed leather, semi-tanned leather and raw hides), marking an export record not reached in decades by the Spanish sector.

According to data from the General Directorate of Customs, in 2022 compared to 2021, exports of raw hides grew by 2.5% (3.9 million euros more), those of semi-tanned hides shot up by 14.9% (9.5 million euros more) and those of tanned hides increased by 24.8% (84.3 million euros more).

If we compare the accumulated figures for 2022 with those of 2019, prior to the covid-19 pandemic, sales of raw hides increased by 5.3%, while semi-tanned hides increased by 28.9% and those of tanned hides, 13.4%.


Regarding imports of hides and leather, in 2022 compared to 2021, purchases abroad of raw hides increased by 33.6% (18.6 million euros more); the import of semi-tanned hides, 41.4% (34.7 million euros more) and, finally, those of tanned hides, 33.3% (73 million euros more).

In relation to the accumulated figures for 2019, sales of raw hides increased by 39.1% and semi-tanned hides by 22.5%, while those of tanned hides decreased by 6.2%.

Consequently, the trade balance for leather in 2022 showed an imbalance in general terms in favor of exports of 167.8 million euros.

You can read the original post HERE.

The health of the tanning sector is strong and the future is hopeful

Original content by: La Conceria

Let’s start with a summary of the numbers: “The 1,161 exhibitors at Lineapelle 101,” reads a note, “from 42 countries (61.7 percent Italian, 38.3 per cent foreign), welcomed more than 22,000 buyers and trade professionals to their stands. In other words, “42 percent more than the previous edition dedicated to summer collections (February 2022), 6 percent more than the winter edition (September 2022).” This would be enough, then, to share that this edition, which came in the midst of a complex and slow economic situation, was “energetic and superstimulating.”

Splenda Leather in Milan

Splenda Leather has participated in this new edition of Lineapelle Fair. Undoubtedly one of the most relevant events in the sector and one that we have attended for many years.

This has been a highly positive edition. Once the global health emergency is over, we have once again been able to hold numerous meetings with suppliers and customers and we have been able to perceive first-hand the new imminent trends in our sector. And, above all, we have come back with a conclusion: the health of our sector is strong and the future hopeful.

Energetic, superstimulating

“It was supposed to be the edition of the complete return to the pre-pandemic dimension and which, as its slogan stated, set itself the goal of making tomorrow bloom,” Lineapelle writes. So, it did.” Dedicated to the 2024 summer season and held February 21-23, 2023, at Fieramilano Rho, the 101st edition of the show “closed under the banner of great energy and a series of stylistic and business stimuli, which were confirmed by the high turnout of buyers and the quality of the networking work carried out at the fair. A result of great positivity confirmed by the fast-growing numbers, which consolidate its role as the only global reference show for the fashion, luxury and design supply chain.”

Renewed internationality

At the test of Lineapelle 101 (the fair that closed the train of exhibition events organized by the associations involved in Confindustria Moda) was the leather supply chain, which, after the great suffering of the pandemic, found a fair that had returned to its pre-Covid dimension. Here, then, was the hoped-for “return to pre-pandemic internationality,” with 41 per cent of visitors arriving from abroad and a particular brilliance on the part of visitors from Germany, Spain, France, Portugal, the United Kingdom and the Netherlands, as far as Europe is concerned. Solid presence of Turkish operators, while from Asia very interesting and reassuring were the entries of Japanese and Korean buyers, along with the initial return of Chinese.”

Market Sensations

In terms of business, “Lineapelle 101 intercepted a complex economic phase, slowed down-after a positive 2022-by a series of factors (from the war in Ukraine to the inflationary trend) that, according to exhibitors’ statements, could nevertheless begin to unblock the market between the end of the first and the beginning of the second quarter, thanks also to the reopening of China.”

You can read the original post HERE.

World trade in the leather sector in 2021

Contenido publicado por: Lederpiel

2021 was a year marked by the covid-19 pandemic. Its irruption and rapid expansion in early 2020 forced a large part of the countries around the world to implement rigorous confinement measures and mobility restrictions, which caused a slowdown in international trade. Exports and imports fell sharply for much of 2020, and it took until well into 2021 for faint signs of recovery to begin to be perceived. 2021 was, therefore, a year of transition to normalize an economy sharply damaged by the new coronavirus. Of course, this situation also affected the global balance of tanned and leather-made articles.

According to the French National Leather Council’s (CNC) ‘World Leather Trade in 2021’ report, China sold 28% of the value of total exports of leather products in the world. Compared to 2020, China grew by 0.6%. For its part, Italy, the second largest exporter of leather products, accumulated 14.3% of the value of world sales in 2021 (1% more than in 2020); while Vietnam, in third position in this ranking, accounted for 12% of the total (1.4% less). For their part, other European countries such as France and Germany also established themselves as large sellers of leather and fur-related products during the past 2021. The former accumulated 6.3% of the value of exports (0.4% more than in 2020), while Germany concentrated 4% (+0.1%). Although China continues to be the world’s leading exporter, its loss of influence is confirmed year after year, taking into account that in 2010 the value of its foreign sales of leather and fur items accounted for 45% of the total worldwide.

By continent, 54% of total exports of fur and leather goods came from Asia (same percentage as in 2020), compared to 41% from European countries (1% more than in 2020).

By product type, China continues to be the country that sells the most leather footwear (30.9% of total exports) and the most leather goods (29.5%). For its part, Italy capitalizes on exports of clothing and leather accessories (21.2%) and tanned skins by value (23.7%). Meanwhile, the United States leads foreign sales corresponding to raw skins and leather (24.9%).

Leather in Spain

The world trade of leather in 2021 from the CNC also highlights some interesting data from our country. For example, it points out that Spain is the sixth largest exporter of raw fur and leather in the world, accumulating 4.3% of foreign sales of this product in 2021. Its main clients are Italy, which buys 39.9% of its total exports of raw skins; China, with 27.4%, and Portugal, with 10.3%. On the other hand, our country is the twelfth largest importer of this product, accumulating 1.6% of the total. Its main suppliers are France, with 21%; Portugal, with 20.1%, and Italy, with 16.1%.

As for tanned leather, Spain is the ninth largest exporter of tanned leather in the world, accumulating 3.1% of foreign sales of this product in 2021. Its main clients are Italy, which buys 28.2% of its total exports of tanned skins; France, with 21%, and Portugal, with 14.1%. On the other hand, it is the thirteenth largest importer of this product, accumulating 2.5% of the total. Its main suppliers are Italy, with 42.9%; Nigeria, with 9.4%, and Egypt, with 4.8%.

You can read the full post HERE.


Hide and skin production around the world

Contenido publicado por: World Leather

This article tackles the following misrepresentations:

MYTH: It is cruel to make leather from animal hides and skins.
FACT: The hides and skins are a by-product of the meat industry and only become available after slaughter.

MYTH: There are better uses for the hides and skins.
FACT: There are some other uses, but for thousands of years, people have found making leather to be the best way to make the most of the material available. In many parts of the world, the only other realistic option would be for the material to go to waste, which would give meat companies two big headaches, a financial one because of lost revenue from tanners and because of the cost of disposal, and an environmental one because of waste management practices in many parts of the world.

The volume of hides and skins coming as a by-product from the global meat industry is enormous. Figures suggest the meat industry generates around 275 million cattle hides a year, along with 540 million sheepskins and 425 million goatskins. The leather industry buys up much of this by-product, which otherwise would mostly go to waste, and transforms it into one of the most versatile and attractive materials on earth.

The weight of the hides and skins the meat industry casts off each year is likely to be around 8 million tonnes for cattle hides, 375,000 tonnes for sheepskins and 300,000 tonnes for goatskins. This means that the meat industry generates almost 8.75 million tonnes of waste per year in the form of animal hides and skins.

Disposing of this waste would cause severe problems for all cities and countries where animal slaughter and meat processing takes place, but specific to the developing world, it would exacerbate an already serious municipal solid waste situation. Municipal solid waste almost doubled in the first decade of this century to reach 1.3 billion tonnes in 2010. It is expected to reach 2.5 billion tonnes a year by 2025. At the moment, around 15 million of the poorest people in the world scrape a living by picking out from municipal solid waste things they will try to sell. The presence of large volumes of perishable waste material from the meat industry could have serious consequences for their health.

In parallel, the meat industry needs to consider how much money it would have to spend to manage its hides and skins in the same way as other waste, an increasingly costly business. The UK, for example, imposes a landfill tax that will reach £94.15 per tonne in April 2020, an increase of 11.5% on the 2016 figure. At these rates, putting its by-product into landfill in the UK would cost meat companies more than £800 million per year, without factoring in transportation or labour costs. This cost would, in all likelihood, be passed on to consumers, making meat more expensive and less accessible.

This article argues that the leather industry does the meat industry and society at large a great service by taking waste material and converting it into leather for shoes, accessories, clothing and upholstery. Tanners and brands selling finished products made from leather should remind their customers of this in the face of questions about the sustainability of the leather industry.

You can read the original post HERE.

An introduction to Leather and the Circular Economy

Contenido publicado por: World Leather

In December 2019, the European Commission published a 24-page document to explain a set of policy initiatives it is calling The European Green Deal, which has the aim of “resetting” the organisation’s commitment to tackling climate and environment-related challenges. The document describes such an undertaking as “this generation’s defining task”.

It wants the European Union (EU) to continue to be a prosperous body and for its economy to grow, but it wants this growth to become “decoupled” from the use of new resources. Renewable resources and the reuse of resources already in circulation will be fine, as long as they can be produced or recovered in sustainable ways.

In fact, this is precisely what the future looks like: using what we can grow and recover to make the products we use to live, keeping things for a long time, repairing them when we need to, passing them on for someone else to use when we no longer can or want to and, eventually, taking the product back and recovering the materials it’s made from and giving these a second, third, fourth, fiftieth life. Materials must go round in circles; as little as possible must go to waste.

These are global questions, of course, which the European Commission acknowledges. It says in the December document that the EU will “use its influence, expertise and financial resources” to convince companies and governments around the world to join it on a sustainable path. As “the world’s largest single market”, the EU believes it can set standards that will apply across global value chains. The Commission has said it will use its economic weight to shape international standards that are in line with its environmental and climate ambitions.

In the Green Deal, it presents an initial roadmap of the policies and measures that it wants business leaders, politicians and people in the EU and around the world to take to contribute to the objectives of achieving climate neutrality by 2050 and of helping the United Nations meet its Sustainable Development Goals by 2030. It proposes to set up a “carbon border” so that products entering the EU from external countries may incur a carbon tax if “differences in levels of ambition” persist in their countries of origin. Therefore, cutting corners in seemingly low-cost outsource manufacturing locations will prove to be a false economy and companies that continue to pursue this practice may find that they cannot sell their products in the EU because the penalties in place will make these imports less affordable than alternative products made in the correct way. The correct way is circular.

The European Commission believes a move to a circular economy is an essential part of its plan. It says it could take 25 years to transform supply chains from the linear model of make-sell-use-throw away and instead make them circular, with manufacturers taking by-products from each other to keep adding value and nothing going to waste. But it insists that action needs to take place now so that, by the target date of 2050, we can have sustainable ways of making and consuming things.

“From 1970 to 2017, the annual global extraction of materials tripled and it continues to grow,” the Green Deal document says. “About half of total greenhouse gas emissions and more than 90% of biodiversity loss and water stress come from resource extraction and processing of materials, fuels and food. The EU’s industry remains too linear and dependent on a throughput of new materials extracted, traded and processed into goods, and finally disposed of as waste or emissions. Only 12% of the materials it uses come from recycling.”

In the document, the European Commission says it wants to support and accelerate industry’s transition to the circular economy and the Green Deal contains a new circular economy action plan. Part of this will be to take action to stimulate markets, inside and outside the EU, for circular products, encouraging the companies that make these products to create new, green jobs. It will support the circular design of all products and will prioritise reducing and reusing materials ahead of recycling them.

This circular economy action plan will also include measures to encourage consumers to choose reusable, durable and repairable products, handing a competitive advantage to companies whose products or materials meet that description. It says new business models based on renting and sharing goods will play a role “as long as they are truly sustainable and affordable”. The Commission says it will tackle false green claims, vowing that companies engaging in green- washing will end up red-faced, named and shamed.

Public authorities, including the EU institutions, are to lead by example and ensure that their procurement is green. Legislation and guidance on green public purchasing will follow. Billions of euros are at stake here. Companies that verifiably meet the green criteria will be the ones winning the contracts.

It has much to say about waste, making it clear that if waste cannot be avoided, “its economic value must be recovered and its impact on the environment and on climate change avoided or minimised”. Here, too, there will be new legislation, including targets and measures for tackling waste generation. In parallel, the Green Deal document makes clear, “companies should benefit from a robust and integrated single market for secondary raw materials and by-products”.

At the start of this new decade, in which progress is essential if the global economy is to hit its 2030 and 2050 targets, all of these ideas seem sound and well thought- through. It will be obvious to readers of World Leather magazine that, in leather, the European Commission already has in front of its nose a clear example of a production sector that can already meet all of its circular economy requirements. Leather and the circular economy are a perfect match. And yet, the December 2019 document explaining The European Green Deal makes no mention of leather. Zero.

We can say on the one hand that this is disappointing but it’s no surprise, in truth. The European Commission published an earlier document at the end of 2015 called EU action plan for the circular economy. This one made no direct reference to leather either. As in the 2019 document, though, there are lots of indirect references that show how well leather ties in with this concept. Both European Commission documents fail to make the connection between leather and the circular sourcing, circular production and circular consumption arguments they put forward as a model for the future. It’s obvious that the responsibility for establishing those connections lies with the leather industry.

For this reason, World Leather has decided to begin 2020 with a new Leather and the Circular Economy section. We will provide a platform for tanners, leather chemical companies and finished product manufacturers to share their opinions and experiences on this subject. For millennia, skilled people have been taking a by-product from meat and, rather than let it go to waste, have turned it into a material whose versatility, durability, naturalness, sensuality, renewability and beauty knows no parallel. To use leather in shoes, furniture, automotive, aviation and other forms of transport, interior design, handbags or apparel is to choose a raw material that might, otherwise, have gone to waste. It is a material that you can repair and recover for reuse at the end of a product’s useful life, preventing waste again and avoiding the need to extract new resources for the products we buy. It’s the circular economy material par excellence and it’s time more people realised that.

Our Leather and the Circular Economy section will include two types of articles: some covering the thought leadership on the circular economy that people across the leather industry are demonstrating, others covering case studies from companies that make or use leather to showcase their circular stories. The aim is to keep publicising examples of the leather industry’s circular economy credentials.

To make the connection clear, we have picked out ten aspects of the way the best in the business make and use leather and tied them in with the policy details that have come to light so far in the documents from the European Commission. If asked to show why leather is an ideal example of a circular economy product, anyone in the industry will be able to point to these ten reasons. We are pleased to share these ten criteria in the infographic above and we are delighted to offer our first circular economy thought leadership and circular story articles in the December 2019-January 2020 issue of World Leather.

You can read the original post HERE.