Certification and Sustainability in the Leather Sector: Italy and Brazil Join Forces


Two world leaders in the leather sector, Italy and Brazil, joined their expertise in sustainable production and transparency signing the Partnership Agreement (PA) "Leather Sector - Sustainability Certification Program". The document was made official in Hong Kong on March 13th, during the meeting of the world’s official representative body for the leather industry (the International Council of Tanners, ICT), reaching a new milestone in the sector, with the central objective of improving processes and guaranteeing responsible practices. 

The agreement was signed by ICEC (the Italian Quality Certification Institute for the Leather Sector) and CSCB (Brazilian Leather Certification of Sustainability), with the support of the respective members of ICT: UNIC (Italian Tanners’ Association) for Italy, and CICB (Centre for the Brazilian Tanning Industry) for Brazil. The purpose of the Partnership Agreement, signed in the framework of ICT activities, is the mutual recognition of the respective voluntary certifications. Based on official standards, issued through qualified inspections and in the absence of conflict of interests, they are deemed able to provide robust and complete guarantees to the leather sector in relation to sustainability issues. 

The signing partners, which have drafted the PA as an inclusive agreement, open to future partners, are willing to recognize the certification processes provided under these conditions, excluding supply chain qualifications considered as merely self-referential and trade based.

The certification schemes mutually recognized through the PA are an expression of what has actually been developed and applied in the tanning industry. “They represent, therefore, an important reference for the qualifications in the leather supply chain. The agreement is focused on three different areas, which ICEC and CSCB already meet with their services: environmental, social, economic issues in the leather production”, says Sabrina Frontini, director at ICEC. 

According to José Fernando Bello, executive president at CICB, the agreement will enrich research for an ever-better industry, clearly establishing the attributes of leather to the world and its recyclable nature. "Tanneries work under a series of rigid rules and with a great deal of concern about sustainability issues. With the agreement, we place our commitment on a new stage of relationship and transparency, showing consumers the role of leather in the world", he emphasizes. 

Furthermore, the main objectives of the collaboration between ICEC and CSCB is the development of certifications related to traceability of raw materials, animal welfare, environmental protection; moreover, they will promote at international level the knowledge and the importance of leather use, to enhance the image of the tanning sector towards the final consumer.