Published in WORLD LEATHER JUNE/JULY 2018
The leather industry is under pressure. It is being attacked by agenda groups, such as People for Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), smearing leather with lies and misinformation. It is in competition with a growing number of synthetic materials, including imitation materials made from mushrooms, that brand themselves as an alternative to, but somehow the same as, leather (and always with better performance and environmental characteristics). The use of misleading descriptions and trade names, such as eco-leather, Flyleather and Tec-Leather, mean that the battle to maintain the integrity of the definition of leather is slowly being lost. The image of tanning among those outside the industry is either vague or poor, with the whole industry being benchmarked against the very worst practices in places like Hazaribagh and Kanpur.
Once, the response of the industry was to do nothing. Now, various committees churn out carefully-constructed position statements, which languish unread on rarely visited websites. Industry experts preach to the converted at conferences and seminars, and give forth in opinion pieces in the industry press. Trade bodies petition regional, national and supranational governments on behalf of their members and write stern letters to the editors of publications that have maligned leather, and are for the most part, ignored. In all, very little changes and the image of leather and leather manufacturing becomes more confused and eroded in the minds of customers and consumers. Read more...TIME_FOR_CHANGE_3