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Leather Products

The leather-based industry especially leather products industry (footwear, garment, leather goods) is highly fashion oriented.  Moreover, articles made of (genuine or simulated) leather are complementing clothing. Leather products (shoes, garment, leather goods) is important export earner for many developing countries. In many countries leather products export ranks within the first three places in the total export.  Especially the footwear industry’s importance to the national economies in developing countries is underlined by the fact that it is the main contributor to the countries export and – being a labour intensive industry – provides employment to the most vulnerable groups of the society (including a large number of women) in towns and villages where other job opportunities are very scarce.  The most of the leather products and footwear industry is dominated by small- and medium-scale operations. These SMEs lack of design information, product development knowledge, information and educated personnel for applying up-to-date quality assurance techniques and productive technology.  The institutional background is weak in providing necessary services, support and professional training needed for becoming competitive and thus remaining in business (providing/maintaining working opportunities). UNIDO with other institutions and organizations through tailor made technical assistance assisted to up-grade and enhance leather products sector.

The main objective of this survey presented during 14th UNIDO Leather Panel in Zlin/Czech Republic is two fold: to clarify actual differences in direct manufacturing costs of footwear production in selected countries and to review the proportion of different cost components/structures in the case of comparable labour intensive products such as footwear and/or its upper. As styles vary considerably (mainly due to fashion and market demands) and systems of costing used in different parts of the world are far from being uniform, a common scheme of costing had to be established. This was based on more or less standard types of shoe styles and on a suggested, simple cost computation algorithm.

The survey is intended to cover the environmental impacts and health issues of the footwear and leather goods industries with particular reference to solid waste, air pollution and chemicals. The review covers quantification of solid wastes, technology available for reducing environmental impact and health risks and legislation. It was presented during th 13th UNIDO Leather Panel, Bologna November 1997.

The requirements of leather users and consumers need a definition of each of the properties and means to control raw materials, processes and the quality of finished products, as well as of leather articles. Quality and quality control play an important role and are the corner stones on which the good reputation of leather, tanners, leather products manufacturers and traders are built. As the distinction between countries supplying essentially raw materials and countries producing leathers on an industrial scale becomes less clear, the developing countries, once exporters solely of raw hides and skins, are encountering growing pressure to improve the quality of their emi-processed and finished leathers and of products made of leather. Publications were presented during the 12th UNIDO Leather Panel held in Teheran/Iran (1995).

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