Facts & figures about leather
- Leather is a by-product – cattle and sheep are reared specifically for the production of meat, wool and dairy product. The value of cattle hides and sheepskins represents in the region of 5-10% of the market value of an animal.
- The leather industry utilises hides and skins which, if the industry did not exist to process them, would create an enormous waste disposal problem with the attendant health hazards.
- Leather is a renewable natural resource – if leather was not produced, it would have to be replaced by synthetic materials derived from non-renewable resources.
- Leather is used in a wide range of products from children’s shoes, where it is most important for foot health, to oil seals in aircraft. Leather makes a contribution to the quality of everyday life and has done so for centuries.
- World production of leather estimated for 2007 is 23 billion square feet at a value of circa US$45 billion
- On average a consumer will have at least 4 leather items on them at any one time (eg shoes, belt, wallet, watchstrap)
The 2009 Global Market Study for the Leather Industry is an invaluable reference tool compiled by leather industry researchers, market experts and statisticians at Eurofins | BLC.
The following figures demonstrate the significance of the leather sector in relation to the value of trade in other commodities.
Value of world international trade average 2003-2005 in US$ million:
|Raw hides and skins||5,008.5|
|Wet blue, crust and finished leather||17,477.7|
|TOTAL Leather Sector
|Meat from cattle, sheep and goats||24,105|
Exotic Leathers and CITES
Exotic leathers feature strongly in luxury leathergoods and, when sourced from reputable suppliers, consumers can be confident that they meet stringent rules and arrangements for importing, exporting and other commercial activities.
CITES (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) is an international agreement between governments. Its aim is to ensure that international trade in specimens of wild animals and plants does not threaten their survival. The regulation of trade is based on a system of permits and certificates which may only e issued where certain conditions are met. These cover imports, exports, re-exports and all commercial uses. The CITES agreement places controlled species into separate groups (Appendices) depending on the degree to which they are endangered, and these classifications are reviewed every two years.