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Vegetable-tanned leather - what is it exactly?

A manifest of COTANCE

Vegetable-tanned leather is currently a highly appreciated product. COTANCE, the association that represents the European Leather Industry, has been promoting the dissemination of updated and relevant information, in order to demystify misconceptions.
Vegetable-tanned leather is a leather produced with tanning agents from vegetable origins, with extracts from tree bark, fruits or leaves that transform animal skin into a more durable material with several attractive properties.
New formulations have been emerging by using grapes, olive leaves and other vegetable sources. This process enables the production of a firm, highly abrasion-resistant leather with proper hypoallergenic and technical properties. These also demonstrate antibacterial benefits, are breathable and have a good absorption capacity and humidity release.
Vegetable-tanned leather can be called “vegan leather”, as convenient, although some have taken opportunistic advantages of this to put designations of vegan leather on faux leather products. However, this confusion about “vegan leather” and “faux leather” was quickly proclaimed and considered unacceptable.
In fact, there is no such thing as “vegan leather”. It’s more appropriate to mention vegan materials, whether they come from oil derivatives origins or vegetal origins.
Some European countries have decrees and regulations that regulate the use of the term “leather” and/or labels of leather products, such as Spain, France, Italy, Belgium, Greece and Estonia. Only footwear has a uniform legislation in the EU and, even this, doesn’t prevent the use of misleading descriptions and advertising that affect the term “leather”.
However, there isn’t any applicable legislation in Europe for other leather products and to protect the term “leather” from misleading associations with other products, such as pineapple, mushrooms, wine, etc.
Along with COTANCE, European organizations from the tanning industry are hardly working to achieve the much needed protection of the term “leather” inside the European Union.

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