Portuguese tanners, as well, decided to stand up to safeguard the “leather” term. The top managers of APIC (Associação Portuguesa dos Industriais de Curtumes) sent a letter to their own Government in order to provide the Leather Authenticity issue with European importance. In fact, on 1st January 2021, it will begin Portugal’s EU presidency, which is going to last for six months.
APIC called therefore for the implementation of specific European guidelines and regulations. In other words, they want to prevent an improper use of some terms such as “eco-friendly leather” or “vegan leather”. A battle to safeguard the industry, as much as buyers, which UNIC – Italian Tanneries has been fighting, in Italy, with determination: by reason of their efforts, the Leather Decree became law last 24 October 2020.
Portuguese tanners call for Brussels action
Portuguese tanners submitted their petition to the Portuguese government by sending a letter that dates to 22 October 2020. In their letter they reminded Pedro Siza Vieira, the Minister of Economy and Digital Transition, about the importance of the industry in Portugal, which currently hires over 3,500 employees, including satellite activities.
APIC asked Vieira to put the Leather Authenticity issue on the agenda of Portugal’s EU presidency. In fact, the German half-year office is due to expire on 31 December 2020, then the Portuguese presidency is about to begin. Portugal might therefore work hard to create a supranational regulation in order to control terminology.
Stop to “eco-friendly leather”
“Leather – pointed out APIC – is a sustainable and naturally circular material”. Yet, an improper use of the term misleads buyers who end up purchasing, at times, products made from synthetic materials and not a natural raw material they believe they are choosing instead. According to APIC estimates, in 2017 an improper use of the term caused the industry to suffer from remarkable damages, more than 1.7 billion euros.