The EU single market: implications for the leather industry
Several EU Directives affect the leather tanning industry.
Although there is no specific EU Directive for the tanning industry, this sector is affected by a number of EU measures concerning the environment, the use of chemicals, the marketing and use of certain dangerous substances as well as the use of animal by-products.
The Single Market is one of the EU's greatest achievements. It has a direct and growing impact on the leather sector, from which both citizens and businesses benefit in terms of enhanced employment and commercial opportunities, wider choice of goods and services, lower prices, labour mobility and international competitiveness.
There are no specific Directives for the leather tanning sector but several Directives have implications for the industry. The main environmental Directive which directly affects the industry is Council Directive 96/61/EC concerning integrated pollution prevention and control.
Other Directives of relevance to the sector are Directive 76/769/EEC relating to restrictions on the marketing and use of certain dangerous substances and preparations, and its amendments, in particular Directive 2002/61/EC [106 KB] relating to azocolourants. Directive 2003/53/EC [108 KB] relating to restrictions on the marketing and use of certain dangerous substances and preparations (nonylphenol, nonylphenol ethoxylate and cement) has implications too for leather processing.
The sector is also affected by the new chemicals REACH Regulation, being an important downstream user of a wide variety of chemical preparations. Further information on this issue is available on the Environment section.
Hides and skins are materials of animal origin that are used outside the food chain and as such fall under Regulation (EC) No 1774/2002 laying down health rules concerning animal by-products not intended for human consumption. In order to facilitate the efficient management of animal by-products, while preserving at the same time the current high levels of protection against risks to public and animal health and the environment, the European Commission made in 2008 a proposal for a revised Regulation which introduces clearer rules and sets the general framework for more risk-proportionate requirements for these products. The proposal is being discussed in the Council and the European Parliament.
Further information is available in the Reference documents section.