The Leather PEFCR is a harmonised methodology for the calculation of the environmental footprint of leather. The Environmental Footprint pilot phase is to culminate in the EU PEF conference to be held April 23-25, after which all approved PEFCRs will be published. A transition phase is to follow until 2020, where “the lessons of this four-year Environmental Footprint Pilot Phase will be drawn and possible policy options will be considered”, according to Cotance, which is to remain involved in the further methodological developments as well as in the policy debate, notably through its ‘Apparel and Footwear Cluster’.

The submission for an EU Pilot for Leather was retained by the European Commission in October 2013 as one of the 14 successful pilots among a total of some 90 applications. “We will finally see a robust, credible and transparent Life Cycle Analysis methodology come to life to accurately and consistently assess our sector’s ecological footprint. Although there is still some ‘unfinished business’ in the PEF methodology, such as the issue of zero-allocation for hides and skins of slaughtered animals, the current rules will allow leather manufacturers to demonstrate their capacity to help reduce environmental impacts linked to their production”, said Gustavo Gonzalez-Quijano, Secretary General, Cotance.

The zero-allocation to hides and skins, as a by-product of animals slaughtered for meat production, is fully acknowledged in the CEN Standard EN 16887 Leather – Environmental footprint – Product Category Rules (PCR) – Carbon footprints, which was approved in November 2016 and published in March 2017, and applicable from September 2017. It sets the Product Category Rules for the carbon footprint of leather. According to Cotance, the PEF looks not only at the issue of climate change “but also addresses several other environmental impact categories, enabling the users to get a comprehensive approach for the eco-design of their leathers”.