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The leather-based industry occupies a prominent place in the economy of many developing countries. Globalization of the leather trade led to extensive international supply of (semi)finished leather and various leather products.  As only small fraction of the leather and leather products is produced for the local markets, trade and trade patterns are important elements for the development of the leather value chain.

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:

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.

Industrial sectors, especially the leather-based industry subsector in many developing countries and in former centrally planned economy countries (countries in transition), often suffer from unrecognized common interests among competing entrepreneurs. In these countries joining hands, lobbying together against governments tending to take too quick (legislative) action without foreseeing problems which might later arise in the industry, combining efforts in export promotion and retaining raw material (hides and skins) resources are of prime importance. Formulating and/or strengthening respective trade association is one of the most efficient (and fairly inexpensive) ways of tackling these problems. Recognizing the importance of professional associations and the lack of available information on this subject, UNIDO decided to conduct a survey revealing the main functions, modus operandi, managing and financing of trade associations in the leather, footwear and other products industries worldwide. The major objective of the study is not to present a model to be followed, but rather to show good practices which lead to more-or-less stable legal and economic conditions for leather-related manufacturing businesses. This paper presents problems of existing trade associations, lessons learned, possible ways of operation and relations with local and international authorities. Each chapter is followed with a list of best practices which can orient those involved in creating or operating national, regional or even international associations in the leather-based industries. The executive summary consists of a brief introduction which is followed by a full list of the best practices that have been identified. There are some recommendations offered for new and existing associations which may be considered when management decisions are made regarding future activities.

this paper shows development and globalization in the leather sector. With increased international co-operation between developed and developing countries the Second Consultation on the Leather and Leather Products Industry (Cologne/Germany; 1980) recommended to prepare Check list for contractual agreements.

Objective of the Checklist was to provide the managers of footwear companies in developing countries a useful tool for making use of international co-operation in the development of their industry.