An initiative to help reposition leather as a high quality, environmentally friendly and sustainable product - as well as educate designers and consumers about the material's benefits - says it has continued to gain momentum over its first year.

The Leather Naturally campaign is being driven by stakeholders in the leather supply chain, who are striving to present the industry to consumers around the world in a more positive light.

"The leather industry is poor at communicating what it does, with tanners in particular focusing back down the supply chain on the price of hides and skins - but they need to look forward at where the industry is going," explains Reg Hankey, CEO of leather producer Pittards Plc.

Speaking at the opening today (25 March) of the Materials Manufacturing & Technology (MM&T) show in Hong Kong, he added: "The Leather Naturally campaign was conceived to pull the whole industry together and give it a positive face."

The campaign is focusing on three tasks, which include market research and analysis to identify what is driving consumers and how to meet their needs, campaigning, and promoting the uptake of leather.

The working group tasked with driving the campaign forward over the past year is now calling for more members to build on its longevity. "We need to raise our game to tell the good stories, but we all need to share the financial load," Hankey notes.