Cotance says the term “FlyLeather”, as promoted by international sportswear giant Nike, is illegal in several EU member countries, “where legislation or standards prevent consumers from deceptive commercial practices and the leather industry from free riding its heritage”. Cotance calls on the European Commission to take appropriate corrective action, where EU legal rules are in place for ensuring correct footwear labelling and preventing unfair commercial practices.

“The ‘FlyLeather’ campaign constitutes a challenge not only to EU labelling and fair trade rules, but also to the EU Environmental Footprinting initiative whose methodology has been ignored, rendering futile the three-year pilot phase for product category rules in the leather and footwear sectors”, says Cotance in a statement.

On October 6, national tanner association representatives from Italy, Spain, France, UK, Germany, Portugal, Austria and Sweden met in Milan, for its Autumn Cotance council meeting. Topics discussed included “leather authenticity”. Earlier this year, a Paper was submitted to the European Commission requesting regulatory action for uniform leather authenticity rules in the EU; a legitimate right of protection against the misuse of the term “leather”, and protection against deceptive commercial practices that avoid disclosing the true composition of the products purchased by consumers.

Based on the recent examples of the EU dairy industry, whereby purely plant-based products such as soya or tofu cannot, in principle, be marketed with dairy related descriptions such as ‘milk’, ‘cream’, ‘butter’, ‘cheese’ or ‘yoghurt’, Cotance demands that the leather sector also benefit from such legal protection.