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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.

Based on available and reliable data the foot measurement survey made in India in 1999 led to a very important conclusion: the proportion (i.e. shape) of feet of the local population differs considerably from what is built in European and North-American shoe lasts. The main reason is the ethnic (anthropologic) difference between European and American people, but the fact that the overwhelming majority of the Indian population wears open type of footwear (sandals, chappels, slippers etc.) or nothing must have its impact as well. Although substantial differences have been identified between geographic regions of the country it is quite apparent that

Indian feet are flatter, i.e. their forepart - especially around the ball and waist part - are wider and lower than in

case of European feet. Indian feet have shorter forepart: the distance of ball points from the heel part is relatively larger than that of European feet. The consequences are that footwear made on European shoe lasts do not really fit on Indian feet (i.e. they are not comfortable) and wear off quickly. Further distinction should be between different regions of the country. All this means that specially designed shoe lasts should be used for footwear produced for domestic sale in India.

Throughout the world, women make a vital contribution to industrial output.. Their work not only sustains their families, but also makes a major contribution to socio-economic progress. The creativity and talents of all women are an invaluable resource, which can and should be developed both for their own selfrealization and for the benefit of society as a whole.

The key to enhancing women’s opportunities, and hence their position in industry and the economy, is to provide them with access to know-how, technologies and credit. Training to upgrade women’s technological capabilities and to enhance their entrepreneurial and business skills, whether in simple artisanal production or in high technology industries, is at the heart of allowing women to advance to more rewarding positions. All these activities are an integral part of UNIDO’s technical assistance programmes.

The case-studies presented in this series of brochures demonstrate that engament of women women and gender neutral management can be also for benefit of the leather sector.

The Global Leather Coordinating Committee (GLCC) in 2013 sought to identify real and perceived strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats of importance to the leather industry. This paper sets down a mosaic of major issues stemming from these considerations.This paper was published in the World Leather (February/March 2014).

This survey prepared and presented during the 17th UNIDO Leather Panel is a follow-up to Worldwide Study of the Leather and Leather Products Industry, which was the outcome of an exhaustive survey carried out by UNIDO in the 1970s. It is intended to assist the Organization in the formulation of future assistance programmes and in detecting areas where further study of various kinds may be useful. This report assesses the worldwide prospects of the leather and leather products industry in the coming decade. It examines the major underlying trends of recent years and how they are expected to evolve in the short to medium term. In its attempt to provide a thorough picture of the leather sector, the report covers its various aspects: the availability of raw material, the tanning industry, and the manufacture of footwear and other leather products. The basic intention is to help discern prevailing trends in global trade and to support efforts to design an effective role for organizations in the industrial development arena. The findings and forecasts published here are meant to be indicative rather than definitive and to form a basis for further surveys and studies. The need to compile this report arose out of the 16th session of the UNIDO Leather and Leather Products Industry Panel held in Brazil in May 2007. The panel recommended that UNIDO undertake a comprehensive study on the future development of the world leather and leather products industry, a study that would cover demand, technology, production, and trade. Consequently, the UNIDO study provides an analysis of the contemporary demand for leather products (footwear, leather goods, gloves, leather garments, sports goods, upholstery, etc.) vis-à-vis the availability of resources (raw hides and skins, manufacturing capacities, skilled labour, knowledge, support industries, and services). It also contains information on other important aspects of the leather industry: trade statistics, the geographic distribution of production, technology developments, physical infrastructure, environmental conditions, and social aspects involved in the production of leather.

The publication by the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), “Making private standards work for you: A guide to private standards in the garments, footwear and furniture sectors”, outlines a strategic approach for suppliers in developing countries. Private standards, also known as business values, norms, ethics, codes, principles or morals, are considered to be one of the ways of promoting social development and environmental sustainability in global value chains. Some estimates suggest that more than 1,000 codes of conduct and management systems exist. But most companies in developing countries do not have much tangible information. The guidebook was funded by the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (Norad) and developed in collaboration with the Dutch Centre for Promotion of Imports from developing countries (CBI). The guidebook is available in English, French and Spanish, and can be downloaded here: www.unido.org/privatestandards

This paper elaborates some reasons behind the success of the leather-footwear sector in Italy, also to see how and if the "Italian recipe" can be successfully exported to other Countries.

To this end, this survey breaks down into three main sections:

a) the first part will aim at setting the Italian leather-footwear system against the more general national industrial system. In fact, some elements (the prominence of small and medium companies, its “district” nature) in general are the resources of the Italian system;

b) the second part deals more specifically with the structure of the leather-footwear system in particular, its present situation, its main points of strength and weakness, and anticipating its lines of development;

c) the third part, finally, includes some considerations about the possibility of exporting the Italian model to other countries.

 

Paper was presented during the 13th Session of the UNIDO Leather Panel Meeting in Bologna (October 1997)

The objective of this survey is to provide a review of domestic and export trading patterns inside footwear business and to give recommendations to developing countries for using appropriate trading strategies and channels. The focus is on footwear marketing and sale. The structure of this paper follows the development we have seen inside sale and marketing of footwear. The paper refers from the beginning less than 150 years ago with local supply of footwear up to day where footwear has become an important business on the global market place. The development has been different from one continent to the other, but it is important to realize that the consumer has become a powerful player. To know and to acknowledge the customers wishes is and still will be a key factor. The development has created challenges. A lot of new markets have come and the competition is growing every day. The paper describes the most important challenges. Challenges, the footwear business has to be aware of. The paper tries to give an answer to the questions the challenges bring.

In market economies, specifically within (the present global) competitive market conditions actual performance of businesses is measured by the (international) market itself: efficient operations remain in business, produce profit and have potential to develop. In case of productive sectors of the economy, namely the agriculture, the industry, the trade and services such assessment having a post-facto character carries the risk of being late, i.e. it may jeopardize the business itself if it does not have sufficient resources to take corrective actions. Specifically assessment of industrial entities such as (sub)sectors, companies and production units plays an important role for governments and managements as its – timely obtained – results enable decision makers to initiate necessary actions.
The above considerations triggered the preparation of this study. In order to demonstrate practical applicability and usefulness of benchmarking, revealing good manufacturing practices and how thy can serve performance assessment in the industry, the paper is focusing – as an example – on footwear manufacturing and trade.

This paper was presented during the 15th UNIDO Leather Panel and later successfuly used in UNIDO TA to benchmark footwear sector and companies.

The present report provides production ratios of solid wastes in leather, footwear and other leather products manufacture and analyse why such wastes are produced and analyses possible solutions in order to reduce the quantity of waste, or to recycle them. 

The report was prepared by C.T.C. for the 14th UNIDO Leather Panel session.

UNIDO Shoe Industry Certificate Course Footwear LeatherPanel 1985

The Footwear Industry Certificate/Diploma Course was developed by the UNIDO Leather Unit's staff, its experts and consultants in 1985. The material was made available as training aid nad given, fully or partly, as hand-out for students and trainees.

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