According to Cotance, vegetable tanned leather is currently finding favour among certain circles, but while “vegetable tanned leather” can also be called “vegetable leather” for convenience, the Confederation said that the growing trend for veganism has led to confusion, with “vegetable leather” being used as a term for “vegan leather”.

“In fact, there is no such thing as “vegan leather”. It is more appropriate to talk about vegan materials, whether they are of petroleum, synthetic or vegetable origin”, said Cotance, highlighting that some European countries have decrees and regulations on the use of the term leather and/or the labelling of leather articles, such as France, Italy, Spain, Belgium, Greece and Estonia.

So far, only footwear enjoys uniform labelling legislation in the EU, “but even this does not prevent misleading descriptions and deceptive promotion or marketing practices affecting the term leather”, said Cotance. To date, at European level, there are no specifications for other leather products to protect leather from misleading oxymorons, where the word leather is associated to materials made from, for example, pineapple or mushroom.

Cotance said that, together with Europe’s leather industry organisations, it is working to lobby for protection for the term leather within the European Union.