Bangladeshi leather industry: an overview of recent sustainable developments

Hiralal Paul, A Paula M Antunes, Anthony D Covington, Paul Evans, Paul S Phillips

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticlepeer-review


The Government of Bangladesh has identified the leather sector as one with considerable growth and investment potential ranked fifth in the export earning sector. Currently Bangladesh produces and exports quality bovine and ovine, caprine (buffalo and cow; sheep and goat) leathers that have a good international reputation for fine textured skins. However, the entire leather sector meets only 0.5% of the world’s leather trade worth US$75 billion. There are about 113 tanneries in Bangladesh that produce 180 million square feet of hides and skins per year. In addition there are about 30 modern shoe manufacturing plants engaged in the production of high-quality footwear, with over 2500 smaller footwear manufacturers also present in the sector. There are around 100 small-to-medium leather goods manufacturers, and a small number of niche larger manufacturers. The sector directly employs approximately 558 000 people. Most of the tanneries do not have proper effluent plants and generate 20 000m3 tannery effluent and 232 tonnes solid waste per day. Tannery liquid and solid wastes are a potential pollutant but also have a potential value. Specific technologies to convert wastes are required. These vary from crude and simple to highly sophisticated and complex. A proposed new leather park is expected to bring a clear transformation to the leather industry with a marked increase in production, product diversification and new product lines with increased sustainability of the sector. Sustainable and cleaner production will be a key issue for the development without placing burdens on the environment.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)25-32
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of the Society of Leather Technologists and Chemists
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2013


  • Leather industry
  • Leather
  • Sustainable development


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