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GLCC rejects ‘leather’ claims of makers of lab-grown material

The leather industry’s Global Leather Coordinating Committee (GLCC) has criticised the use of the term ‘leather’ to describe laboratory-grown materials.

In a statement dated September 11, which followed the most recent meeting of the GLCC in Shanghai at the end of August, it said the global leather industry had been “following with interest” the gradual development of laboratory-grown materials, based on the genetic engineering of yeast cells to produce collagen, which may, one day, be stabilised to form a material that brands and manufacturers will be able to use in the construction of finished products, including shoes, garments and furniture.

“The leather industry takes the view that there is room in the market for all types of materials,” the GLCC said in the statement, “but insists that those materials should be accurately labelled and described, and that any marketing claims must be true, justifiable and comply with fair commercial practices.”

It went on to say: “The global leather industry is clear that material generated in a laboratory, or other artificial setting, based on the genetic engineering of cells from any source, and subsequently stabilised, does not meet the widely accepted definition of leather. Laboratory grown materials should avoid the denomination of ‘leather’ and always be described as what they are – genetically engineered collagen that has been stabilised.”

The GLCC brings together the three international leather organisations: the International Council of Tanners (ICT); the International Council of Hides, Skins and Leather Traders Associations (ICHSLTA); and the International Union of Leather Chemists and Technologists Societies (IULTCS).

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