The subject also concerns usefulness to some extent: talking about tanning raw material, what is the enhancing value of efforts to optimize its traceability, with regard to materials and, consequently, manufacturers and retailers? They discussed several topics during the workshop “Sustainability Partnerships in the Leather Industry: Focus on Raw Material”, arranged by UNIC – Italian tanneries in collaboration with Cotance and Lineapelle, and the support of the European Commission Programme for Social Intercommunication: the market demands for traceability, as consumers want to know about the product before they buy it. Likewise, traceability proves to be a useful tool for operators as well, to optimize processes. In addition, “Collecting relevant information about the processing stages of each hide is a valuable opportunity – pointed out Michael Søndergaard, Scan-Hide chief executive officer – for the ones who want to make a story telling”. This is its enhancing value: the possibility to tell more about the material. Quite an asset, considering that leather industry is undermined right in terms of communication. Many individuals keep launching misleading and fake news to hit leather permanently.
The players’ models
That is why Scan-Hide implemented a traceability device, based on close cooperation among suppliers and external assessment given by Danish authorities: such device will enable to trace all hides, along their process stages, until the bovine animal they derive from. Something similar applies to Casino, a leather-tanning group linked to The Northern Co-operative Meat Company: they can also rely on a livestock traceability system, implemented by Australian authorities since the sixties. As regards USHSLA, the association of US traders, they have just presented a raw material tracking system that compensates the lack of federal regulations about the subject. Italian INALCA (they process 700,000 livestock units a year) “carry out, every year, 150,000 audits on suppliers to ensure quality”, remarked Marco Ganzerli.
Transparency and quality
What comes out of the workshop, held at Lineapelle97, is a collective tale given by raw material market players. Longing for traceability and quality, which go hand in hand in accordance with market demand and requirements, engages all market practice. As pointed out by Francesco Matelli, Camera Arbitrale for Leather Trade, we still have much to do about it: in fact, we can observe a downturn “in the attention to quality of raw material delivered to tanners” and consequently rising costs and complaints. One more challenge is going to concern institutes that provide certifications, as remarked by ICEC, CSCB and LWG. Tensions deriving from blazes in Amazonia, owing to which VF Corp and H&M have completely suspended imports of Brazilian leather, sound like a warning: the market requires more and more sophisticated tools for traceability.