Bangladeshi leather can attract top brands of America and Europe if the production is environment-friendly, said leather goods exporters and tannery owners.
Top international brands stopped importing leather from Bangladesh since 2014 due to the environmental hazards caused by tanneries in Hazaribagh area.
Bangladesh Finished Leather, Leather Goods and Footwear Exporters Association (BFLLFEA) president Mohiuddin Ahmed said world renowned brands are very particular when it comes to environmental safety.
However, they will be interested in buying products from the country if environmental safety is ensured, he added.
He pointed out that the buyers can get 15 per cent extra if they buy directly from Bangladesh.
Leather products draw in the second highest export income to Bangladesh.
In the 2015-16 fiscal year, a total of $166 crore was earned from leather and leather goods exports.
Apex Footwear managing director Nasim Manzoor told Prothom Alo if tanneries ensure environmental safety, there will be no need to import processed leather.
However, buyers have to be convinced of adequate waste management, he added.
He also said the government should ensure utility connections like gas and power supply to Savar tanneries.
Earlier on 6 March, the High Court directed the government to immediately shut down the Hazaribagh tanneries and disconnect all utility services as they missed several deadlines to relocate their factories to the Savar Tannery Estate.
On 9 April, the Supreme Court asked the authorities concerned to provide gas, power and water connections within 15 days to the tanneries who had applied for the utilities at Savar.
Fortune Leather Crafts chairman Abu Taher said buyers pay less for leather processed in Hazaribagh as it is not environment-friendly.
Prices will shoot up once leather will start being processed in Savar, he said.
*This piece, originally published in Prothom Alo Bangla print edition, has been rewritten in English by Kohinur Khyum.