Whether in the shoes you wear, in the handbag or backpack you use daily, in the details of furniture or vehicles, or in several other applications, leather is present, bringing sophistication and elegance to these products. And a considerable part of the leather used in the world is produced in Brazil, making us one of the reference industries in quality and quantity in the international market.
This is because our country has one of the largest cattle herds in the world. After all, leather is made from a by-product of the ox, which, if not fully reused, would have a considerable environmental impact. But what is the importance of Brazilian leather for the world industry in numbers? How does it differ on sustainability issues?
- Brazilian leather in numbers
Due to its large cattle production, Brazil is one of the largest leather producers. However, not all leathers used in tanning are bovine – despite the vast majority. Pig, sheep, goat and other animal skins can also be used in the development of articles.
Altogether, the national leather moves around US$ 2 billion per year, from its more than 3 thousand industries and factories that act directly in its production process, generating more than 30 thousand direct jobs. In January and February 2022 alone, around 24 million m² of articles were exported, totaling a financial turnover of more than US$ 210 million in the period in sales to the world market.
The main international buyers of Brazilian leather are countries such as China, the United States, Mexico, Italy and other European countries. These markets believe in leather produced in Brazil for several reasons, but here we emphasize quality, quantity, innovation and, above all, sustainability.
- Leather and sustainable production
The development of articles in the leather industry starts sustainably with the reuse of animal skins. However, technologies and production processes are increasingly being used with a focus on reducing water and energy consumption, on the control of restricted substances, on the quality and origin of raw materials and on the health and safety of the employee who works directly with the leather.
Due to these sustainability policies, in 2021 Courovale received the Diamond Certification by the CSCB, which is granted when a tannery reaches 100% of the criteria highlighted by the ABNT NBR 16.296 Standard. We are part of a select and pioneering group that received this approval in Brazil.
In addition, it is worth noting that leather production processes are more sustainable compared to synthetic materials also used for the production of shoes, bags, clothing and accessories. While leather is a product of natural origin, most synthetics are of petroleum origin, which generate highly contaminating residues and have a much shorter durability, impacting environmental pollution.
It is also important to note that, in Brazil, Law 4.888 has been in force since 1965 and deals specifically with the nomenclature of these materials mentioned above. The so-called Leather Law provides for punishments for those who use expressions such as “synthetic leather” or “eco-leather” when dealing with synthetic materials.
Likewise, the use of “legitimate leather” is prohibited. After all, if the product is made from animal skin, it is leather. Otherwise, it is synthetic material.
In this way, Brazilian leather sets itself up as a reference in quality, protection and sustainability to be used in various applications in industries around the world. Courovale is part of this segment, being one of the main companies in the transformation of leather into luxury items.
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