With its publication in the official gazette on January 4, 2022, Portugal approved its Leather Decree. The Decree-Lei n.o 3/2022 defines the term “couro” and the possibilities of its commercial use. This means that certain expressions (such as vegan leather, synthetic leather and so on and so forth) that are technically incorrect and misleading to the public, are no longer allowed. The law provides for fines and criminal proceedings for offenders.
Portugal approves its Leather Decree
“With this law, the government recognises the strategic importance of leather and leather products for the Portuguese economy,” said Nuno Carvalho, president of the trade association APIC and tanning group Couro Azul. “The government also recognises the need to protect the sector from fraudulent business practices”. The law defines the term “leather” and regulates its use. It will no longer be possible to associate the word with prefixes, suffixes and qualifying adjectives in marketing and labelling if the material in question is not leather. Goodbye faux leather and vegan leather. The Portuguese decree aims to protect the consumer from misleading information, and to protect market competition from practices that may distort it.
Cotance, the association representing the European tanning industry in Brussels, is very pleased. In October 2020, Italy had already adopted a regulatory instrument to protect the authenticity of leather. Portugal has now been added to the list of European countries with a law on the subject (Belgium, France and Spain), while in Hungary a law on the subject is in the process of being approved. “We expect that the European Commission will decide to proceed with the long-awaited harmonisation of regulations on leather authenticity at a EU level,” concludes Manuel Rios, president of Cotance.