We are beginning to see the end of a challenging time for all of us. In 2020 and 2021, raw hides and skins were destroyed because markets and tanneries worldwide were forced to close due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Already in 2022, we see strong performance in the luxury sector, and commendable recovery in the shoe and furniture industry. While the automotive leather industry remains uncertain, due to factors outside of its control, overall, we can be optimistic about the future of our industry.
However, we cannot be complacent. Our industry must be sustainable, reacting robustly to continue to improve its environmental impact in the production of leather, using cleaner production methods, bio-sourced raw materials and recycled products, while at the same time reducing the consumption of petrochemicals, reducing the industry’s carbon footprint, water consumption and improving recycling and composting methods. Further, we must challenge misleading and false information produced by environmental campaign groups and animal rights activists.
The IULTCS plays an essential role in meeting these global challenges by supporting the national leather associations to promote the best possible technologies through the established commissions in the Environment, Training and Education, Research and Test Methods. The IULTCS also encourages participation in and scientific contributions to the many congresses around the world. These congresses provide excellent opportunities for knowledge transfer, innovation and education in our industry. Actively supporting the tanning industry to use science and technology to produce accurate, reliable and verifiable data, will enable the leather producing community to continue to thrive and to promote a positive image to consumers.
These are exciting times for our industry as we emerge from the unprecedented challenges of the pandemic. I am very confident that with the IULTCS by its side, the leather industry will continue in this interesting and positive direction.