Automotive Leather Conference - latest

28 March 2003

The organisers of this first time event in Barcelona, May 19-20, say they are very happy with the response to this initiative. Ron Sauer says that automotive leather is clearly not only the fastest developing sector in the tanning industry, it is also considered one of the few that are still profitable. And interest is not just coming from the car leather sector which LeatherXchange were originally aiming at. Increasingly it is from parties outside the automotive trade who wish to enter the sector. Despite the fact that no real marketing campaign has been implemented (scheduled for early April) participants have already registered from the USA, UK, Germany, China, Sweden, Spain, Argentina, Uruguay, Brazil, South Africa, the Netherlands, France, Switzerland, Mexico, Italy, Slovenia and even the Domenican Republic. Sauer says the idea to organise the conference came when he wondered how the world would cope in the future with the demand for suitable hides while the countries producing such hides show ever lower red meat consumption. A simple conclusion is that sooner or later these two basic facts must clash. Many other questions then presented themselves and became the topics to be discussed in Barcelona. Not every hide can be used to produce automotive leather and meat consumption is reducing annually in most western countries while at the same time demand for leather in cars is rising. It may be necessary to find a technical solution whereby less suitable materials such as splits or even skins can be used. While it is true that certain developing countries show increased meat consumption, Sauer says that one cannot say that an animal slaughtered in these countries replaces one less slaughtered in the developed world. The quality is not the same and the average size smaller.

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