Leather and the Environment conference – speaker line


Puma’s Environmental Profit Loss – Dr Reiner Hengstmann, Puma
Measuring environmental impact during the life cycle of footwear production
Sustainable Chemical Management – Dr Dietrich Tegtmeyer, Lanxess.

Chemicals at the heart of sustainable leather manufacturing
The World Footwear Market – Perspectives for Entrepreneurs – Peter Mangione, Global Footwear Partnerships
How global and local drivers impact on footwear markets
Reducing Leather Waste – Christopher Gaysse/Bertrand Cronert, Lectra
Reducing manufacturing costs through optimisation of cutting efficiencies and reduction of material waste
Sustainability – IWAY – The IKEA Way – Lin Wang/Paulo Brenna, IKEA
Discussion of the IKEA code of conduct for purchasing, including environmental requirements
US Product Safety Legislation – Matt Priest, Footwear Distributors Retailers of America (FDRA)
The challenges of US legislative drivers; California Proposition 65, CPSIA and State chemical compliance regulations
Solar Power in Leather Making – Carsten Aschoff, Aschoff Solar GmbH
Opportunity to reduce your carbon footprint with solar power
Biodegradability including Life Cycle – Dr Victoria Addy, BLC Leather Technology Centre Limited
Towards sustainability in the leather supply chain through an improved understanding of biodegradability
The event is organised by BLC Leather Technology Centre and APLF, and sponsored by Lanxess, Lectra and Leather International. The conference will take place at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre.
To ensure your place at this event or for further information contact Chi-On Kwok at ChiOn.Kwok@ubm.com

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AALF underway in Addis

The trade fair, held from March 1-3, 2012, has brought together tanneries, products suppliers and buyers, importers and exporters of chemicals, machinery and raw materials from around the world.

The fair, the fifth annual trade fair to be organised by the Ethiopian Leather Industry Association (ELIA) and is believed to be instrumental in promoting the local leather products in particular and the rich investment and trade potential of Ethiopia among foreign entrepreneurs and investors which came from different countries, say the organisers.

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Exports hit by Euro crisis and China demand

As a result of this exports of apparel and clothing of leather declined by around 11% during first half of current fiscal over the corresponding period last year.

Fawad Ijaz Khan, Chairman Pakistan Leather Garments Manufacturers and Exporters Association (PLGMEA) told Pakistan’s Dawn that on strong demand from China prices of hide and skins had surged on the world markets, which also impacted domestic prices upward.

‘With the rising purchasing power Chinese consumers are preferring leather products particularly garments such as jackets, jeans and gloves over artificial leather apparels,’ Khan observed.

He said that in the past most of leather apparel and clothing from Pakistan used to find its way to EU countries but following the euro zone crisis, a drastic change in the consumers’ tastes was observed.

‘High price of leather apparel has forced the European consumers to opt for cheaper products made from artificial leather and this has adversely affected our exports in the traditional EU market,’ he explained.

‘China has never been a traditional market for leather garments has witnessed a strong demand owing to the strong middle class,’ he added.

Induced by a surge in demand for apparel and clothing of leather, local manufacturers in China went on a buying spree for hide and skins in the world market, which resulted in a price hike, Khan said.

He further said that during a recent visit to leading stores in Europe, he witnessed that they had almost stopped displaying apparel and clothing of leather and replaced them with similar designs and quality products made from ‘faux’ leather.

The PLGMEA chief also criticised the government for being indifferent towards issues confronting leather garments manufacturers and exporters.

Presently, he said most of the apparel and clothing leather units are running under-capacity, which is threatening the industry’s viability.

‘Many export promoting initiatives announced under the three-year Trade Policy 2009-12 have not been implemented and this is causing difficulties to the exporters,’ he maintained.

He urged Pakistan’s Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) to enhance duty drawback rates between 2.4 to 4.84% and also provide funding for research and development, hiring of foreign experts and setting up a design institute.

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Difficult leather export prospects for 2012

Leather exports saw healthy growth in 2011, but exporters expect the crisis of 2012 to be worse than the downturn of 2008.

Paresh Rajda, regional chairman, Eastern Region, for Council of Leather Exports (CLE), a Central government body, said that this was because four years ago, it was the United States that was hit; this time round, it is the EU – which accounted for 65.48% of Indian leather exports in 2010-11 – that is in crisis.

Leather exports amounted to $3.84 billion in 2010-11, which puts it in the category of top ten foreign exchange earners for the country.

Rajda added: ‘Some exporters have already started losing money and will find it difficult to continue running their factories, as some overseas companies are going bankrupt and payments are getting stuck.’

Sanjay Barmecha, who exports leather bags and wallets to France, Belgium and other EU countries, said, ‘Sales will come down by at least 25% compared to last year. Our production costs have increased significantly and margins have dropped, as it is difficult to find buyers at revised prices. Revenue figures may be higher, but sales volumes have dropped.’

Officially notified DGCI S export data put leather and leather products exports in the first seven months of the current fiscal year (April-October 2011) at $2,741.48 million, a growth of 27.33 per cent over $2,152.98 million in the corresponding period of last year.

Ali Ahmed Khan, executive director of CLE, said, ‘Though the current growth trends are impressive, there is some apprehension about future export prospects due to the continuing economic slowdown in the European Union.’

Rajda added, ‘90% of buyers have stopped giving big orders — they don’t want to stock products anymore.’ Nor have exporters been able to find alternative markets.

He said , ‘Latin American countries like Brazil, Argentina and Chile were showing some promise, but due to pressure on their currencies there is a slowdown in that region too. And the Russian and Scandinavian regions are very closed and difficult to crack.’

Adding to the woes is the increase in global leather prices, and in raw material, freight and labour costs, which have dented exporters’ margins. Cost of production has gone up by 50%.

Exporters said gross margins have crashed from 40 per cent to less than 25% in the ladies handbag segment, from 25% to 12-15 in the wallets segment, and from 10-12% to seven to eight per cent in the industrial hand gloves segment.

Khan said, ‘Though the leather industry faces tremendous cost pressures for end products due to factors like increased cost of raw materials, freight and labour costs, exporters maintain competitive rates, as buyers are demanding a 15-20% reduction in prices, citing the market crisis.’

Barmecha added, ‘Labour costs have increased by 50-60% in recent times and raw materials prices by 25-40%, and for exporters who are sending cargoes by air the hit is higher.’

A senior official of Indian Leather Products Association said, ‘A lot of exporters are now taking orders with minimal margins or no margins at all, and if there is an increase in production costs they will not be able to include it in the contract. Many just want to keep their factories running, and are operating at 40-50% capacity.’

Source: Business Standard India

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Simba Group to operate camel tannery

Puntland, officially the Puntland State of Somalia is a region in northeastern Somalia, centered on Garowe in the Nugaal province. Its leaders declared the territory an autonomous state in 1998.
In a press conference held at Juba Hotel in Bosaso, the General Director of Simba, Abdillahi Ciddi-Libaax, the Head of Simba office in Puntland Choudhary Marni and Chief of Marketing Simba, Mursal Daabjeerin expressed their intention to open a tannery in Puntland. Simba also have businesses in the medical and construction sectors in Africa.
Abdillahi Ciddi-Libaax said: ‘The Simba Group currently operates in horn of Africa and we are very hopeful for the opening of a tannery department in Puntland’, he said. ‘We are also planning to open a tannery where the product will be exported’ he added.
‘Simba is a leading company that handles the processing of camel hides in Somalia, and the tannery will be purchased from the existing local industry’, he added.
Recently the company opened a medicine division in Garowe, the capital of Puntland state in Somalia.

Source: Horseed Media

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Drive against polluting textile and tannery units

The TNPCB, along with the revenue department, re-launched the drive against the polluting textile processing and tannery units in the district following widespread complaints from the farmers and residents on the increasing levels of pollution in water sources.

All the 11 units were found operating very close to the water carrying channels and dumping huge amount of untreated, toxic effluents in them, causing irreversible damage to the environment. Officials from the board and the revenue department demolished the concrete structures and dismantled the machineries in these units. They also removed the power connection to one more unit, which actually obtained approval for bleaching but was found to be dyeing and thus was disconnected.

While appreciating the action being taken by the board, the farming community in the district wanted the authorities concerned to intensify the drive as a large number illegal dyeing units had come up in the district. These units let out thousands of gallons of untreated effluents every day, threatening the future of the agriculture sector, farmers said.

The district level co-ordinating committee should identify all the unapproved units and pull them down, farmers demanded.

They also wanted the district authorities to closely monitor the approved textile processing and tannery units and shut down those units that were found violating the rules. There should not be any delays in shutting down the approved units that are polluting the water sources, farmers stressed.

The board, however, assured that it would continue to carry out the drive. ‘We have identified a few more illegal units and will bring them down soon. Teams are also working to find out unapproved units across the district,’ a senior official told The Hindu.

Meanwhile, the farming community wanted the district administration to initiate criminal action against those operating illegal textile processing units. ‘Only when criminal cases are booked against the owners of such units, they will not make another attempt to open illegal units in the future,’ the farmers said.

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Automotive leather lifts Schaffer profits

The interim result was driven by a much-improved performance at the Automotive Leather division, which was previously impacted by the closure and sale of Schaffer’s Mexican leather cutting operations. The result in the Automotive Leather Division was complemented by an increased EBIT result the company’s Building Materials division.
SFC also announced that the Board had declared an interim ordinary dividend of A$0.10 per share. The dividend will be paid on March 23, 2012.

In the calendar year to December 31, 2011 SFC has reduced net debt by A$22.4 million. The decreased net debt, combined with lower interest rates, has reduced interest expense for the half-year by A$0.5 million (28%) compared to the prior period.
Automotive Leather increased revenue from continuing operations by 42% to A$48.7 million. Without the impact of the closure and sale of the loss-making Mexican leather cutting operations, EBIT more than doubled while EBIT from continuing operations also increased substantially (A$4.7 million compared with A$4.2 million).
New and existing supply programs at the Slovakian and Chinese operations generated an overall 64% increase in the volume of cut leather sales. Cut leather volumes in China increased 120% and in Slovakia by 42%. The increases more than offset the loss of volume and revenue from Mexico.
Automotive Leather sold a higher value product mix but the increased average selling price per square metre was eroded by the negative impact of the Australian dollar appreciating against the US dollar and Euro. Margin was also affected by an increase in hide prices, resulting from the higher value mix of product and increased market pricing. That impact was partially offset by the appreciation of the Australian dollar against US- dollar-priced imported hides.

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Stahl teach eco-friendly finishing to students

The first was directed by Frans van den Heuvel who made a point of echoing the Institute’s interest in environmentally friendly leather processing to help the industry meet today’s priorities. The second will be directed by Jacques Daamen who will focus on retanning.

New finishing products, known by Stahl as ‘Hot Items’ played a large part in the training given. These are real life collections of Stahl’s newest products produced at the Design Studio by John Schofield to centre on the finishes that customers need to see, and at the same time supporting the ICLT’s interest in commercial and marketing awareness. They show how lower grade leathers can be used to create high quality finishes and answer the eternal customer question, ‘What’s New?’

The main objective of the course was to look to the future and give the students confidence in their future careers in leather finishing and marketing.

Tuition was given in the many facets of finishing, including accurate weighing of chemicals, hand spraying, embossing and plating for textures, and the production of leather for footwear, leather goods, garments and automotive applications.

Typical of the tasks which were given was one in which the students were each given a piece of the same crust and asked to finish it to match a finished piece supplied as a pattern. After lunch the students were asked to make a presentation of their work to the group, describing what they had done to produce the finish and why.

Frans van den Heuvel says of this group of students, ‘They are a good bunch. Their enthusiasm can be measured by their frequent desire to ask questions and make suggestions. All of them are eager to learn and the tanneries who have sent them on the course obviously have great faith in them. This is further demonstrated by the fact that one or two of them are asking about the possibility of further training in Stahl laboratories during their University holidays.’

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Lanxess to invest in chrome plant

Lanxess are the world’s only company to cover the entire value creation chain for chrome-based leather chemicals. Lanxess operates a chrome ore mine in Rustenburg, making the company independent of external raw material suppliers. The chrome ore is processed in Newcastle into chrome chemicals, out of which high-grade tanning raw materials are made at the Lanxess site in Merebank, Durban, to serve the global leather industry.

‘This investment further strengthens our unique value creation chain for chrome-based specialty chemicals here in South Africa and underlines our strong commitment to the country and the community of Newcastle,’ says Karl Gassen, Managing Director of Lanxess in South Africa.
‘This investment in South Africa marks another step within our BRICS strategy,’ says Rainier van Roessel, Member of the Board of Management at Lanxess. ‘It allows the best possible capacity utilisation of our Newcastle plant and sets the basis for future expansion of our production.’

With its own CO2 concentration unit, Lanxess will become independent of the delivery capacity of external suppliers who provided the CO2 up to now. Construction of the new unit will start in the first quarter of 2012, and commissioning of the unit is planned for the second half of 2013. The investment will create up to 10 new jobs at the site.
Lanxess’ Sodium Dichromate production is based on CO2 pressure saturation, in which CO2 is used to convert Sodium Monochromate into Sodium Dichromate. The new unit will capture and filter exhaust air from the sites’ steam production process, concentrate the CO2 level up to 99% and feed it into the production process.
‘By using our own exhaust air to cater for the CO2 demand we cut down the CO2 emissions of our Newcastle plant by around 25%,’ says van Roessel. The overall capacity of the Newcastle plant is around 70,000 tonnes of Sodium Dichromate per year.
Lanxess (Pty) Ltd is headquartered in Johannesburg. The group has approximately 1000 employees in South Africa with 120 of them based at the Newcastle site.

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Visitor numbers up at Le Cuir A Paris

With 287 exhibitors and 12,237 visitors (up 8% compared with February 2011) the show closed on a positive note. This growth was accompanied by an increased exhibitor presence from the leading countries in terms of creativity in leather: +22% for Italy, +4% for France, +27% for Spain and +30% for Turkey.

Leather fashion colours and trends for the spring/summer 2013 season were highlighted at the show, which forms part of the larger Première Vision Pluriel exhibition at the Paris Nord Villepinte exhibition grounds.

The show introduced a new area called ‘Bespoke by Le Cuir A Paris’. At the inaugural edition it included nine companies offering novel applications on leather using either traditional or innovative techniques for the creation of bespoke items. Exhibitors were delighted with the contacts made with the big fashion and luxury names as well as leading players from the interior design sector that visited.

Around 40% of the visitors attended the show from France while significant numbers came from UK (20%), Italy (15%), Spain (8%), Germany (8%) and Netherlands (5%). From outside Europe, 4% of visitors came from the USA and China (2.5%).

The next edition of Le Cuir A Paris takes place September 19 – 21, 2012 featuring trends for the autumn/winter 2013-14 season.

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