The Italian tanning sector closed 2021 with an estimated growth of around 19 percent in value (for a total of 4.2 billion euros) and 11 percent in volume, which allowed only a partial recovery of pre-pandemic sector production levels. The good performance recorded in the first quarter of the current year, however, is in danger of being severely undermined by the critical issues that have emerged in recent weeks, with slowdowns in orders and a very uncertain outlook for the main product destination segments.

On a general level, both the Russian-Ukrainian conflict, with tensions on the energy market, and the situation in China, an essential player in the international leather supply chain, whose substantial closure for health reasons is an unknown factor that is difficult to read and understand, are weighing heavily.

In addition to soaring gas and energy costs and difficulties on the international logistics front, there is strong and widespread concern about significant increases in raw material and, especially, chemical supply prices.
This mix of rises on the cost front in tanning budgets is also indirectly reflected in the expense items for environmental purification and contract processing and makes it virtually impossible to recover them from customers. 

Italian tanners, also in the light of the ever-increasing investments made in terms of facilities, customer services and improvements in the various aspects of sustainability, hope to raise awareness of this issue with a view to supply chain solidarity. These are important commitments, essential to remain competitive at high levels in the market, but they need to be enhanced on the customer selling price front. Without this, the risk of causing financial imbalances (and collapses) in an industry that has always represented Made in Italy excellence at the international level is very high.  


UNIC Concerie Italiane is one of the most important and organized national associations of the tanning industry worldwide. Formed in 1946, it is a member of Confindustria, the European Confederation of Tanners and the International Council of Tanners, as well as an active participant in various national and international bodies and platforms working on issues of sustainability, innovation and standardization. UNIC represents an industry composed of more than 1,100 companies and 17,000 employees, with a turnover of more than 4 billion euros per year (3 of which comes from exports, directed annually to 120 countries). The Italian tanning industry has long been a world leader of reference for technological and quality development, environmental, social and ethical commitment, process circularity and style/design innovation in the leather sector.

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