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Sam Setter wants the leather industry to blow its own trumpet

In his latest piece for, regular columnist Sam Setter says the tanning industry needs to do more to highlight the positive actions it has taken to improve its compliance to environmental and social standards.

“Many see the tanning industry as the real bad boys as they are told it is this group that uses the chemicals and pollutes the air and the rivers,” he says in his column, which can be read in full on the blog page.

He urges those within the industry to highlight that although they do use chemicals, they do so in a responsible manner and make an effort to clean up after themselves when they are finished. What’s more, modern technology and systems mean chemical usage is better monitored than ever, resulting in not just full control over effluent but also a safer workplace for those working in tanneries. 

Despite the many examples of excellence in the leather industry, many of which have been documented across the six Tannery of the Year programmes World Leather has overseen, there are still tanneries and factories in different regions which fall short of acceptable standards. He cites the reported environmental violations in Bangladesh’s Savar cluster as one such example. 

Mr Setter says the industry must address these issues if it wants to be viewed by the public in a more favourable light and advocates refusing to do business with those that no not comply with environmental and social standards. 

He also offers a warning to those tannery owners who cut corners in pursuit of profit. “They will be forced to throw in the towel,” he predicts.

Image: Left to right: World Leather chief executive, Simon Yarwood, and vice-president for leather chemicals at main sponsor Buckman, Mike Alpert, present the trophy for the 2018 Global Tannery of the Year to Interhides Public Company Limited (IHL) managing director, Ongart Thumrongsakunvong, as Wasin Thumrongsakunvong, Chutima Busayapoka, Wanvisa Thumrongsakunvong and Warit Thumrongsakunvong join in the celebrations. Credit: WTP

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