The group confirmed its mission to maintain and enhance the position of leather in the markets as a valued component material for the benefit of consumers and the leather manufacturing sector. Discussion ensued on the increased demands of the sector to demonstrate sustainable development and on the various options available to verify and certify compliance with diverse expectations. These discussions will continue with sub-committee input.

An update was provided by the Secretary General of Cotance on the EU led pilot project on leather environmental footprint and sector stakeholder negotiations relating to allocations of its burden in the value chain. Discussions within the European Commission-led “cow modelling group” are ongoing with official allocation rules expected by the year-end. The ICT secretary also advised that work on a database of leather regulations and a schedule of “Leather mark” registrations has been completed and will be released soon. This database and the schedule will be available for public review and a separate announcement will be made upon release. This public listing should help guide countries who are considering implementing or upgrading standards for leather.

Restricted substances

The IULTCS Vice President provided an overview of various global regulations that restrict use of chemical substances. These include the recent Zero Discharge of Hazardous Chemicals (ZDHC) Manufacturing Restricted Substances List (MRSL) currently being negotiated by the leather chemical suppliers on behalf of the industry; proposed changes to California’s Proposition 65; implementation of REACh requirements for lower volume substances – a category that risks the deselection of a number of leather industry chemicals in the EU – with a deadline of 2018; and implementation of EU regulations relating to Cr(VI) which will affect leather and leather products sold or imported into the EU by May 2015. A draft EN / ISO standard on testing of critical chemical substances in leather will shortly be released for review by the IULTCS, ISO and CEN members. The challenges represented by Cr(VI) regulations are also being watched closely.

The GLCC has started work on policy statements defining the industry position on key topics. The next GLCC meeting is proposed for Hong Kong in March, 2015.

GLCC members

The Global Leather Co-ordinating Committee comprises representatives of the International Council of Tanners (ICT), the International Council of Hides, Skins and Leather Traders Associations (ICHSLTA), and the International Union of Leather Technologists and Chemists Societies (IULTCS).