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Transitioning to Sustainable Future for Kolkata Leather Industries

Brussels, 23/09/2020 - 12:01, UNIQUE ID: 200923_7
Press releases

Enhancing Competitiveness of Kolkata Leather Complex through pollution abatement measures

Kolkata, September 23, 2020:

Solidaridad Regional Expertise Centre along with its partners— Il Politecnico Internazionale per lo Sviluppo Industriale ed Economico (PISIE), the Calcutta Leather Complex Tanners Association (CLCTA), Stahl, Dugros and the European Union (EU) today launched an EU-India sustainability project for the leather cluster in Kolkata. The project ‘Effective waste management and sustainable development of the MSME tanning companies in Bantala leather cluster’ is a 42-month initiative funded by the European Union under its SWITCH-Asia Programme, which supports efforts for sustainable consumption and production across the Asia-Pacific region.

In line with West Bengal’s efforts to transition to a resource-efficient and circular economy model, the initiative will support Kolkata leather cluster to adopt a cleaner and sustainable production processes. This project also complements the West Bengal government’s vision of making Bantala leather cluster into a leading leather geography in Asia, while reducing its environmental footprint and improving health and safety conditions of the workers, thus, contributing to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Kolkata leather cluster is one of the largest in India, housing around 350 tanneries and more than 4,000 leather goods manufacturing units. The cluster produces leather goods and accessories for the domestic and international markets. However, in the last few years, keeping in line with India’s green and sustainable initiatives and its commitment to SDGs, leather industry has been making efforts to ensure safe management of solid waste and effluents from tanneries.

The project will adopt four key approaches to achieve its end. Firstly, Solidaridad will work with its partners and technical experts to demonstrate national and global eco-friendly practices and technologies that are commercially viable with the objectives of promoting green tanning and waste management in the tanneries. Secondly, the tannery workforce will be capacitated on better tanning practices, solid waste management and occupational health and safety through training-of-trainers programme. Thirdly, a public-private partnership platform will be established that represents the interests of the key stakeholders to collaboratively plan the roadmap for the improvement of the Bantala leather complex. Lastly, the tanneries will be enabled to adopt green practices and technologies, thus, driving sustainable development of the cluster.

Europe is India’s first trading partner and the leather goods are no exception with Europe being the largest market for Indian leather products. The EU’s financial support through this initiative is in line with India’s development priorities, which are aligned with the Sustainable Development Goals.

The launch event gathered a large amount of participants from India and Europe representing the Indian State and central government institutions such as Central Leather Research Institute and Council for Leather Exports, the Indian and European leather industry and the development partner community. Hon’ble Chief Minister of West Bengal, Mamata Banerjee gave the inaugural address at the event and launched the project. 


About the EU and EU-India Ties

The EU, which consists of 27 countries, has the world's second largest economy and its third largest population, after China and India. Though richly diverse, the countries that make up the EU (its 'Member States') are all committed to the same basic values: peace, democracy, the rule of law and respect for human rights. By creating a frontier-free single market and a single currency (the euro) which has been adopted by 19 Member States, the EU has given a significant boost to trade and employment. It is also at the forefront of global policies on sustainability.

EU-India relations: For over 55 years, the EU and India have worked together to reduce poverty, prevent disasters, expand trade, secure global public goods, enhance security around the world and promote joint research in energy, health, agriculture and many other fields of mutual interest. Guided by our common commitments towards Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), the EU is supporting India in its sustainable modernisation. Working with government agencies and civil society organisations, the EU also partners with India in support of its flagship programmes such as Swachh Bharat, the 100 Smart Cities Mission, the Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation or Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao.

More information at:; EU India Roadmap 2025:

About the SWITCH Asia Programme:

The overall objective of the EU funded SWITCH-Asia programme is to promote sustainable and inclusive growth, contribute to the economic prosperity and poverty reduction in Asia and Central Asia and to a transition towards a low-carbon, resource-efficient and circular economy. Launched in 2007, the programme has achieved more than a decade of progress on SCP in 24 countries in the region. This has been possible through the joint efforts of the three SWITCH-Asia components:

• The Regional Policy Advocacy Component (RPAC) – implemented by UN Environment.

• The Sustainable Consumption and Production Facility – implemented by Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies (IGES) and adelphi.

• The SWITCH-Asia Grants Programme – directly managed by the Directorate-General for International Cooperation and Development of the European Commission.

Learn more at

About Solidaridad Regional Expertise Centre

Solidaridad Regional Expertise Centre (SREC) was established as a Charitable Trust in December 2008. The vision of SREC Trust is to support sustainable production in agriculture and industry, combined with sustainable trade and management of the environment around agricultural and industrial ecosystems that will make a significant contribution to combat poverty and preserving people's environment, in the context of a global economy SREC contributes to achieving its objectives by (a) Working with small farmers, government and businesses as a catalyst for improved food production, a safer workplace, access to clean water, and a better income. (b) Programmes are designed on criteria of sustainability so that finance, knowledge and skills remain available after the programme ends and continuity is ensured.

About Project Partners

Politecnico Internazionale per lo Sviluppo Industriale ed Economico (PISIE) is an Italian NGO that has wide experience in the field of training and technical assistance for SME’s within the tanning, textile and leather products sector

Calcutta Leather Complex Tanners Association (CLCTA) is an umbrella organisation representing the MSME tanneries of the Bantala Cluster

Stahl is a global supplier of chemicals to the leather industry and will share its knowledge on environmentally friendly tanning; leather processing and waste reduction strategies

Dugros is a leading Dutch leather company involved in production, design and wholesale of various (luxury) leather products and provides technical and marketing assistance




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