Back in the 1960s the princible ideas of CITES (Converntion on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) first built. Having been signed in 1973 in Washington D.C. by representatives of 80 countries the convention entred in force on July 1st, 1975.
For the German leather goods industry this meant that everybody had to adapt to new rules. In a common effort to ensure the survival of their resources (for the sake of species protection and to being able to continue business) as well as to shape their own future, a group of entrepreneurs founded the internationaler Reptilleder Verband (IRV). They joined forces with government authorities as well as environmental groups to create a viable system of checks and balances.
A key-element became the genuine tagging system presented in 1974 which allows to track the way of exotic leathers from their source (be it hatchlings in farms or animals form wildlife) right trough to the final product used by consumers.Today the species protection tag is officially recognized by all relevant authorities of Germany as proof for legal origin.
Species protection tag
The members report all purchases of skins of protected animals to the IRV presenting the necessary CITES information and documents. Only after the documents have been checked and there is absolutely no doubt regarding their legality the skins are registered in the database.
When a member of the system has finished a product using the skins registered in the database he applies at IRV for the issue of a species protection tag, declaring what quantities of which skins have been used. IRV checks the credibility of the application and issues the tags.
The tag then is affixed to leather products using the genuine IRV-seal. The tag can be removed from the product but cannot be re-attached to another product by unauthorized persons.
To make sure that all reported quantities represent the truth the IRV sends special trained personel to its members to check the stock of the respective skins. The IRV itself and its database are checked regularly by German authorities.
Thus the species protection tag is proof that ony leather in compliance with CITES has been used for the product.
While in the days of species protection trade bans usually were the measures of choice, the focus of protectionists and environmentalists has shifted significantly. Today it is widely accepted among specialists that in many cases the regulated trade in species and its products is by far more effective than bans. Especially the protection of crocodilians through regulated trade has been a great success story. The value given to the skins converts a dangerous species, nobody wants to have in his environment, into a highly appreciated source of income for now and the generations to come and is therefor anxiously protected. Furthermore the industry creates jobs in low developed areas of the world.
As a result the worldwide population of all crocodilians interesting for the leather goods industry have recovered much faster than many had expected. None of these species is actually under the threat of extinction.
We are proud to being able to contribute a valuable tool to this process.