The Impact on Industry and Competitiveness
Chapter 7: The Global Tanning Industry: A Commodity Chain Approach
The leather tanning project comprises a number of case studies in Germany, Italy, Portugal, Poland, the Czech Republic, Brazil, Mexico and India. The case studies are based on interviews in combination with other information and are presented in a way that highlights and discusses different aspects of competitiveness and environmental pressure and practice in the industry. The analytical framework and the state of the global tanning industry are presented in this chapter. OBJECTIVE The tanning industry was selected to attain knowledge on how competitiveness in a pollution-intensive, technologically mature, raw materials and labourintensive industry is affected by changes in environmental regulations. In a broader context this implies that we want to shed light on the causes of changes in the international location of leather tanning since the 1970s. To what extent and how can these changes be attributed to increasing environmental pressure in Europe? The ‘Porter hypothesis’ suggests that environmental regulations are good both for the environment and for competitiveness. Environmental regulations drive innovation and technological change, which lead to product and processinnovation offsets (Porter and van der Linde, 1995). In respect of productinnovation offsets, the costs of technological change that reduce environmental damage are offset by the fact that the products are improved and/or become more attractive to consumers and attain higher prices in the market. Process-innovation offsets refer to more efficient use of inputs, such as chemicals and energy, which reduce the cost of production. It is argued that resourceful and internationally competitive companies are best placed to...
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