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Global Leather Coordinating Committee meets in Milan

A report from the recent leather industry discussion.

Twenty-one members of the Global Leather Coordinating Committee (GLCC) recently met in Milan, representing the International Council of Hides, Skins and Leather Traders Associations (ICHSLTA), the International Council of Tanners (ICT) and the International Union of Leather Technologists and Chemists Societies (IULTCS).

After reviewing the World Leather Congress, which had been held the previous day with nearly 300 in attendance, three main topics were discussed – attitudes to and implications for the use of chromium compounds in the leather industry, chemical management and environmental footprinting.

A report was given of good progress in the EU pilot study for developing ‘product category rules’ for leather. A call was also made for companies to voluntarily participate within the Product Environmental Footprint Category Rules (PEFCR) for one of their leathers sold within the EU.

With regard to chemical management, it was agreed that the companies within the leather industry would continue their engagement with major brand owners, with such initiatives as Zero Discharge of Hazardous Chemicals (ZDHC). The aim of this project is to ensure that the special nature and requirements for leather production are considered when in setting restrictions and limits for chemicals that are used. It was further reported that the EN/ISO standard which lists chemicals likely to be present in leather and specifies test methods is still making progress and is expected to be published in the early months of 2016.

Members stated their belief that the continued use of trivalent chromium was essential for the leather industry. It had been claimed at the congress that trivalent chromium has a very low level of toxicity. Speakers at the event had also stated that the evidence used as a basis by the EU for introducing the recent restriction on hexavalent chromium was of very doubtful quality.

The committee confirmed that the revised European (CEN) Standard for leather terminology had been published, and that this indicates that the word ‘leather’ – including when in conjunction with words such as ‘synthetic’ and ‘faux’ – should not be used for any material that does not meet the strict definition of leather.

The next GLCC meeting will take place in Hong Kong in 2016.

Publishing Data

This article was originally published on page 8 of the November 2015 issue of SATRA Bulletin.

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