In France “the stiches of the leather industry are coming undone”, writes the France Presse agency. That’s because the influx of raw material for the tanning industry continues, while the demand for leather is weak. Operators, faced with warehouses filled with ovine skins, are feeling helpless. Now there are two alternatives: the first one is adding warehouse space. But to do that they must receive some support from the government. The second option is to destroy the goods (at least 2 million pieces) stored. But the latter, ça va sans dire, isn’t the preferred option.
Warehouses filled with ovine skins
Finding the reason for this issue isn’t difficult. While “the meat industry”, which didn’t even stop during the lockdown, “is back to full capacity”, points out AFP, the leather segment is still stuck in the challenges of the period. Even in the darkest time “operators have continued to collect material – says Franck Boehly, president of CNC -, while the market is in crisis”. There should be more warehouses, “but to open new ones one must wait between 6 months and 2 years”, continues Mr. Boehly: that’s why the government should simplify the process.
The (unpleasant) alternative
Raw material for the leather industry is a perishable good: if it can’t be stored there has to be an alternative. At the moment SGCP (Syndicat Général des Cuirs et Peaux), even after realizing the criticality of the situation, don’t want to think about it: “Our stocking capacity is at the limit – they say -. But we aren’t even equipped to destroy the skins, which would also be harmful to the environment”. The pandemic has crippled the circularity of the tanning industry and more. “Destroying the skins would mean a cost for us, as well as the slaughterhouses”, says SGCP: with no tanneries the meat byproduct goes back to being waste.
Edit: We initially published the news using the term “hides” instead of “skins”: we apologize for the error. As SGCP clarifies, the problem is related just to the ovine skins and not to the bovine hides