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8 November, 2019 10:54:52 AM

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Achieving LWG certification for leather industry by 2020

Full operation of CETP, improvement of leather quality needed
Sharif Ahmed, Dhaka
Achieving LWG certification for leather industry by 2020

It is possible to acquire a total of 1,300 points by 2020 to get the Leather Working Group’s (LWG) certification if the central effluent treatment plant (CETP) becomes fully functional and improves the production quality of hides and skins, say industry insiders.

“We must get a total of 1,300 points if we want to get the LWG certification. The points are for factory compliance standards.

Also, 200 points are allocated for a full operation of the central effluent treatment plant (CETP),” Shaheen Ahmed, chairman of the Bangladesh Tanners’ Association (BTA), told The Independent.  

“Initially, we are performing mock tests in our factories to assess the eligibility of getting the certificate,” he said.

Getting the LWG certification needs compliance with the global standards. And to obtain that, the central effluent treatment plant (CETP) at the Savar Tannery Industrial Estate (STIE) must be fully operational, said Ahmed.

“If these two criteria are fulfilled, we would get the LWG certification by 2020,” he added.

In the last fiscal year (2018–19), leather and leather goods exports fetched USD 1.01 billion, making it the second highest export earner for Bangladesh after garments, according to the data of the Export Promotion Bureau.

When asked about the rawhide quality, Ahmed said preservation after processing was very important to maintain the quality of the rawhide.

“Once we obtain the LWG certification, nobody will question the quality of our products as everything would be produced by adhering to international standards,” he noted.

 Of late, many American brands have expressed interest in shifting to Bangladesh because of the US–China tariff war, he said. So, the certification would eventually boost export earnings to more than USD1 billion, he estimated.

“The certification is very important for us if we want to supply quality goods to retailers at competitive prices,” he added.  

Bangladesh produces nearly 400 million square feet of rawhide, among which local leather and footwear companies consume 30 million square feet, according to the BTA.

Some leather goods and footwear companies import 20 lakh square feet of high-quality leather to make exportable goods, said industry insiders.

Ahmed said 155 factories had been shifted to Savar. Of them, 125 factories are running. Also, 25 tanneries have fully started their operations but processing only crust leather.

He explained that this sector was not getting the advantage of the CETP and hence struggling to achieve global standards in terms of compliance.  

Leather footwear registered a negative growth of 9.28 per cent, resulting in earnings of USD 159.23 million. This figure was USD 175.52 million during the same period in FY2018–19.

When asked, Ahmed said import duties on chemicals used for protecting rawhide had increased, affecting the export of crust leather. Crust leather experienced a negative growth rate of 25.46 per cent in FY2018–19.

Ahmed, who is also the managing director of Kohinoor Tanneries Ltd, said: “Around 75,000–85,000

people used to work in the tanneries in Hazaribagh before we shifted

all the factories to Savar. As a result, many people have lost their jobs. This has also hit the exports of leather goods.”

HM

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Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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