After a key discussion by the group on the assessment of the environmental footprint of leather, an agreement was found on a definition of the system boundaries – that the environmental impact of the hide, skin or leather begins once the hide or skin is separated from the carcase, at the abattoir. This is an essential element of the European pilot study on developing category rules for preparing Product Environmental Footprint for Leather, which is due to start in June 2014.

ICT presented the latest versions of their database on legislation governing leather in different countries, and the summary of registrations of the leather mark. It was agreed to re-emphasise to members and other contacts in all countries the importance of protecting the position of leather by doing everything possible to ensure that appropriate designations of leather and leather products are understood and enforced. Leather industry associations in all countries should also be encouraged to register and manage the leather mark, wherever this was currently not being done.

IULTCS advised the group of a forthcoming ISO standard which would list appropriate leather test methods for substances in three categories: (a) those that might be found in leather; (b) those that were unlikely to be found; and (c) those that would never be found in leather. This standard would help companies in the leather supply chain to respond to requests from customers to demonstrate compliance with long Restricted Substances Lists (RSLs). Following the publication of the IULTCS document giving a scientific view of Chrome VI, it was agreed to compile a series of positive statements about leather as a ready response to questions and criticisms of the industry.

In addition, the group received an update from ICHSLTA on the world raw material supply situation, which is important in setting the backdrop to most things that happen in the sector; the group also agreed a process to review the GLCC’s aims, objectives and scope.

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