Compiling Directions of “Specifications on Genuine Leather Mark Eco-Leather”
China has entered into World Trade Organization. To enhance the environmental protection consciousness of Chinese leather industry, promote industrial self-discipline, and continuously strengthen the international competitiveness of Chinese leather and products, China Leather Industrial Association decided to push out “Genuine Leather Mark Eco-Leather” from 2002, which consists of two basic documents: “Specifications on Genuine Leather Mark Eco-Leather” (“specifications” for short hereinafter), and “Implementing Rules on Genuine Leather Mark Eco-Leather” (“Rules” for short hereinafter).
When China Leather Industry Association registered certification trademark “Genuine Leather Mark” in National Industrial and Commercial Administration Bureau in 1994, the certification trademark covered natural leather and fur that was therefore within the scope of certification trademark “Genuine Leather Mark” and used this trademark. To differentiate from “Genuine Leather Mark” for leather products, the leather conforming to “Specifications” is described as “Genuine Leather Mark Eco-Leather” because its emphasis on the four special chemical indexes including formaldehyde, hexavalent chrome, pentachloraphenal (PCP) and azo dyes.
To do a better work, China Leather Industry Association drew up “Rules” in 1996, and the draft of “Rules” were discussed three times at annual conference of Leather Making Commission and Leather Chemistry Commission from 1996 to 1999, so that it was further improved. In 1998, China Leather Industry Association formally introduced the concept of “Genuine Leather Mark Eco-Leather” at “Seminar on Leather Environmental Protection Technology” held in Beijing by UN that obtained good approval from environmental protection officials of UN such as J.Buljan. Zhang Shuhua, Vice Chairman of China Leather Industry Association, gave a speech about “Genuine Leather Mark Eco-Leather” at the International Environmental Protection Conference sponsored by UNIDO held in Morocco in 2000, which got uniform approval from the participants. The “Rules” was discussed and passed at the joint meeting of the four special commissions of leather-making, leather chemicals, fur, science and technology held in Beijing in Jun. 2001, and published to the whole industry at the Fourth Session of the Fourth Annual Congress of CLIA held in Shanghai in Sep. of the same year.
At the same time, China Leather Industrial Association started to draw up draft of “Specifications” from 2000, which is completed in Oct. 2001, and more than ten leather experts and scholars from nine colleges and leather institutes make a deep discussion on the concrete contents of the draft during “the First Seminar on China Leather Technology in 21st Century”. The experts paid high attention to the draft and offered many precious proposals and supplementary comments. They uniformly figure out that it was necessary to formulate “Specifications” under current situation that would be significant to the transfer of China from a big leather country to a strong one and enhancing of the better image of China leather industry.
With the help from all circles and extensive material collection, arrangement, research, and verification, the draft of “Specification” was made out, then it was sent to some units such as National Leather Standardization Technology Committee, major tanneries and leather research units for examination at the end of Apr. 2002, then finally it was discussed and passed formally at National Leather Industry Summit Meeting held at the end of Jun of this year.
The specification combines the recommended requirements of international leather organization over leather quality, takes full consideration of the characteristics and current situation of domestic leather industry, and refers to or adopts domestic relevant standards and advanced foreign standards, such as German standards. Apart from ordinary physical and chemical indexes in current domestic standards of the leather industry, the specification also sets limitation on the amount of four kind of harmful chemical substances possibly existing in leather. Following are further directions on some contents of the specification:
1. In the “Specification”, the requirements for testing method of ordinary physical and chemical indexes should follow relevant industrial standards and national standards such as QB/T 1872, QB/T 1873, and GB/T 16799, etc..
2. According to the structure and processing characteristics of leather, the specification sets out limitation on possible hexavalent-chrome, certain azo-dyes, free formaldehyde, and PCP in leather. Although International Standardization Organization (ISO) has, by far, no uniform standard of testing these chemical substances, many countries have formulated their own testing method standards. German was early in this respect and started from 1980s research on chemical substances that usually exist in leather and possibly do harm to human bodies. Around 1990s, it drew up the testing method standards on PCP, certain azo-dyes, formaldehyde, and hexavalent-chromium. These method standards have been adopted in many countries and the testing results thus obtained were accepted in many countries or importers. At present, China has entered into WTO and its formulation of specifications should try to in accordance with international practice. Therefore, the relevant German method standards was adopted as the testing method standard for the four special chemical indexes mentioned above in this specification.
3. With regard to the limitation on chemical indexes in “Specification”, China Leather Industry Association consulted numerous specialized testing companies both in China and abroad and obtained large amount of relevant information. Subsequently, 62 kinds of leather samples from 43 major tanneries in China were collected, and were sent to BLC which is a world famous institute in the field of leather testing for the testing of the four special chemical indexes, and further learned about the current conditions of China leather industry in this respect. On the basis of this, the regulations in the specification are able to conform to the requirements of world major leather import countries.
4. The latest version of the standards that quoted here will be adopted correspondingly in this specification. If the standard for any kind of leather which is contained in the scope of Genuine Leather Mark Eco-Leather comes out, it will also be applicable to the specification. The specification will adopt any international uniform standard for the testing method standard of special chemical index in future.
During the compilation of “Specification”, we obtain great support from National Leather Standardization Technical Committee, Science and Technology Commission of China Leather Industry Association, Sichuan University, Shaanxi University of Science and technology, Shandong Light Industry Institute, China Leather and footwear Industry Research Institute, State Leather Quality Supervision and testing Center, National Leather Product Quality Supervision and testing Center, ITS, UNIDO, BLC, LGR, as well as many leather and leather product manufacturers, and relevant people and hereby express our thanks.
China Leather Industry Association
Compiling Group of “Specification on Genuine Leather Mark Eco-Leather”