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Brazil’s Leather Firms Seek Sustainability Certification

As consumers look to sustainable fashion even more in 2015, more leather makers in Brazil are opting for accreditation with the South American nation’s latest initiative – the Brazilian Leather Certification of Sustainability.

Located in Rio Grande do Sul, Fuga Couros is a leading Brazilian leather maker processing more than 200 thousand hides per month. Boasting over 2,700 collaborators and 22 production plants throughout Brazil, Fuga is the latest leather firm receive the Brazilian Leather Certification of Sustainability (CSCB).

Close to being an official accreditation, CSCB is the world’s first certification for the leather industry; bringing in standards for sustainable economic, social and environmental production.

The leather sector in Brazil continues to improve its environmental standards in areas of water consumption and management, treatment of wastewater effluents, emission reduction, raw materials traceability and waste disposal. And the impact farming has on the deforestation of the Amazon rain forest.

According to Fuga Couros’ managing director Patricia Fuga, the tannery has decided to join CSCB to keep itself sustainably up-to-date and improve its processes.
“We believe that the certification will make the leather sector even stronger, and make it reach the highest level possible in terms of business management,” said Fuga in a statement.

Accredited by Inmetro (the National Institute of Metrology, Quality and Technology), the CSCB is an initiative of the Centre for the Brazilian Tanning Industry (CICB)—the official body for leather in Brazil. Much like the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) already used by sustainable cotton manufacturers, the new leather certificate is as an optional accreditation for tanneries, providing them with a logo, which officially classifies them as sustainable.

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It’s still being finalized, but with more and more leather firms showing interest, the CICB is pleased with the industry response.

“It is a way of anticipating ourselves, and get ready for the certification, which will sure be a milestone for the Brazilian leather sector,” said José Fernando Bello, executive president of CICB.

“As the entity that suggested the creation of CSCB, we are very pleased to know that a tannery such as Fuga Couros is the first to show a sign of interest towards the certification. It means that truly professional companies, such as Fuga, will also join CSCB in the near future.”

However, just last month, Brazil’s leather and skin segment saw a 20.5% decrease in exports for May. According to figures from the Department of Foreign Trade and the CICB, the sector reached $205m for the same four-week period. In relation to April, exports had fallen by 0.6%.

But the amount of leather units actually increased during May. Some 2.579 million pieces of cattle hide were exported in May, a slight increase of 0.1% compared to April.

According to Bello, the Brazilian leather industry is aware of the nation’s collective economic difficulties in 2015. But, he believes the leather sector will see a full turnaround from the beginning of next year.

“Everyone is aware that 2015 isn’t and will not be a positive year for the Brazilian economy,” said Bello.

“More than trying to find ways to face this tempestuous period, leather production companies look forward to 2016. That is sure to bring back a growth in exports.”


—By Benjamin Fitzgerald


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