Beginning with support from ICEC, the Leather Working Group, Sustainable Leather Foundation, Oeko-Tex and Textile Exchange, the group has expanded to include CICB/CSCB, the Leather and Hide Council of America and the AQC, alongside a host of other organisations.

In Milan, stakeholders celebrated the first anniversary of the cluster and highlighted upcoming challenges. With continually expanding membership, the cluster has established sub-groups including one for certification and another for standardisation, with a third in the making around transparency and data issues and a fourth expected on deforestation.

Cotance noted that, although progress has been achieved in the alignment of terms and processes, the task ahead for leather traceability certification schemes is still paramount and time is running short.

Cotance Secretary General Gustavo Gonzalez-Quijano said: “Cotance is proud to be at the origin of this important initiative that aims to increase the efficiency of certification bodies in developing leather traceability and bring considerable savings for all the links in the leather value chain, as it enables convergence and mutual recognition.

“The spirit of cooperation demonstrated by all members of the Leather Traceability Cluster is remarkable and a vivid example of how collaboration and competition can and must co-exist when it comes to overcome common challenges.”