Portugal has approved its Leather Decree, as published in the official gazette on January 4, 2022. It defines the term ‘leather’, imposes strict requirements on the use of the word ‘leather’ and regulates its commercial use.
Becoming effective on January 1, 2022, the Leather Decree, Decree Law No. 3/2022, establishes the definition and use of the term ‘leather,’ and its derivatives or synonyms, in the name and composition of products manufactured and placed on the domestic market.
With this law, it will no longer be possible to associate the word ‘leather’ (‘couro’) with prefixes, suffixes or qualifying adjectives in marketing messages or labeling if the material is not leather. Therefore, the use of certain expressions, such as ‘vegan leather’ or ‘synthetic leather,’ are not only technically incorrect but also no longer allowed. Their use will now be considered deceptive and misleading to consumers, and subject to fines and criminal proceedings.
In the law, a harmonized definition of the term ‘leather’ is created by specifying all characteristics as well as the technical standards to be followed. The use of the terms ‘couro (leather)’, ‘pele (skin)’, ‘pele curtida (tanned skin)’ or ‘couro revestido (coated leather)’, as well as other terms defined in the law, their derivatives or synonyms, are prohibited for use on any materials that do not meet the defined characteristics of products.
Portugal follows Belgium, France, Spain and Italy in enacting laws to ban these terms, aiming to protect consumers from misleading information and ensure that the leather industry is not harmed by deceptive business practices.
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