VENTURES: South Cape Ostrich Tanning Wins Award
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At the first-ever Tannery of the Year Awards ceremony, South Cape Ostrich Tanning was runner-up for the Africa region Tannery of the Year award.
The regional Tannery of the Year winners were Bridge of Weir from Europe, Ethiopia Tanning Share Corporation from Africa, Simona Tanning from China, PrimeAsia Vietnam from Asia excluding China, and Fonseca from the Americas.
The other four runners-up were Tata International from Asia excluding China, Isa TanTec from China, Josef Heinen from Europe and Procesos Húmedos from the Americas.
The Ethiopia Tanning Share Corporation from the Africa region was chosen as the global winner of the new initiative. Tanneries from Germany, the UK, Ethiopia, South Africa, China, India, Vietnam, Mexico and Argentina made it through to the final vote held in Hong Kong.
Some 50 tanneries were nominated for consideration and assessment, which has been carried out over the past ten months by World Leather, the leading business and technical magazine serving the industry.
Final presentations were made to the panel of judges on March 29, chaired by Alan Smith, who was vice-chairman for the Pacific region at leading global investment bank Credit Suisse First Boston (CSFB) until his retirement. He is currently a member of the Hang Seng Index Advisory Committee, and of the EuroMoney Asia Advisory Board.
Other members of the panel were Kim Reid, currently head of leadership and talent at British Airways, Professor Dr Bi Shi, president of the International Union of Leather Technologists and Chemists Societies (IULTCS), Paul Pearson, secretary to the International Council of Tanners (ICT), and Steven Jesseph, chief executive of Worldwide Responsible Accredited Production (WRAP). They were assisted by Richard Daniels, one the leather industry’s top consultants who has been responsible for the concept and development of reedbed technology for the treatment of tannery wastewaters.
The annual awards programme has been introduced to recognise best practice in terms of environmental stewardship, sustainability and social responsibility, as well as best corporate practice that includes labour policies and working with local communities. The industry, at one time considered to be a major polluter, is in fact today one of the principal business sectors working to enhance the environment. Without the tanners, the world also would have to cope with a major environmental headache in terms of getting rid of the hides and skins generated by the meat industry. Instead, tanners turn a potential waste product into a highly desirable material, the benefit of which is enjoyed by consumers worldwide.
The leather sector is one of the most heavily regulated industries and the achievement of tanners to work at even higher standards than those demanded by legislation is something that should be recognised by governments and regulatory authorities.
The gala awards presentation took place on the first day of the APLF exhibition, the leather industry’s major international gathering.
The total value of the leather sector including raw hides, finished leather and leather footwear, is estimated at $54 billion, a figure only marginally less than the combined total value of meat, coffee, tea, rice, sugar, cotton and rubber production.
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