24th October 2020: The Leather Decree has become law

24th October 2020: The Leather Decree has become law

Saturday, 24th October 2020, is a paramount date for Italian leather-tanning industry: indeed, it is worth remembering it. In other words, on that day the Leather Decree has become law.

The Leather Decree

Such is the name given to the Leather Decree: “New regulations applying to the use of “leather” and “fur” terms”. The Italian government formally and conclusively ratified it last 28 May 2020, following a long-lasting and painstaking awareness raising campaign launched and promoted by UNIC – Italian Tanneries. Among measures implemented in the Legislative Decree, pointed out UNIC, “besides a definition of the leather term, which is going to be more appropriate and aligned with European Union and technical guidelines, they have explicitly prohibited the use of leather term”. Such prohibition will “also apply to prefixes and suffixes, used to pinpoint some materials not deriving from dead animals’ skin: at present, this is the case of a few non-orthodox terms, such as eco-friendly leather, vegan leather and similar words used to pinpoint synthetic materials”.

Italian tanners’ perseverance

Italian tanners consider this accomplishment as a “successful completion of a long-lasting struggle for an appropriate use of leather-tanning terminology”. Moreover, such tangible result was driven by consistent determination, which led tanners to pursue this goal. As commented, in the last few months, by Gianni Russo, President of UNIC, “Our association’s perseverance and determination have been rewarded”.

Follow-up activities

Since June to present, UNIC has been actively promoting a widespread and meticulous follow-up activity about the Leather Decree. The aim is to share its contents and importance with the whole industry at all levels. “We have set forth the contents of the Decree – remarked UNIC in a press announcement – during the latest digital editions of Lineapelle London and New York (on July 17) and on some events arranged in partnership with other stakeholders of the leather industry”. Among others, “Confindustria Moda (on July 13), Federlegno-Arredo (on October 20), ICT International Council of Tanners (on September 30), AICC Associazione Italiana Chimici del Cuoio (on October 14)”. This journey is not going to stop: “In the next few days, it will take place an event organized by Confcommercio, whose aim is to investigate and understand obligations and responsibilities of leather wholesale and retail players”. In addition, “other manufacturing associations, such as Assopellettieri, actively playing in the leather industry, will take stage” as well.

Clarifications and injunctions

“We have provided several responses – continued UNIC – to a few specific requests for clarification submitted by single buyers and brands”. Focus: “To illustrate and explain the use of terminology and prevent its being matched with synthetic materials. Since the beginning of the year to present, we have submitted 14 injunctions: of course, after the Leather Decree has entered into force, such types of action will progressively turn more frequent”.

Europe’s scenario

Today, in Italy, is THE Leather Decree DAY. We are now aiming at one more goal as we hope they will soon celebrate a day like that in Brussels too. “In partnership with Cotance – wrapped up UNIC –, we are going to keep urging, more and more, the EU Commission to finally get some European regulations”. “On the one hand, such guidelines will possibly balance some rules currently effective in a few countries (namely Italy, France, Spain and Belgium); on the other hand, they will also bridge present gaps in the other member countries”.

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