Good working conditions in tanneries

Project description

Title: Good working conditions in tanneries
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)​​​​​​​
Country: Bangladesh​​​​​​​​​​​​​​
Lead executing agency: Ministry of Labour and Employment (MoLE)​​​​​​​
Overall term​​​​​​​​​​​​​​: 2022 to 2025

Workers hang leather from clotheslines to dry. Copyright: GIZ/Victoria Hohenhausen.


The leather industry is a vital branch of the economy in Bangladesh. Leather products accounted for some 2.5 per cent of export revenue in the 2019 financial year. This makes leather the third largest segment for exports. It employed around 850,000 people, directly or indirectly, during this period.

However, tanneries in particular often operate with disregard for human rights. National labour inspection authorities lack the resources to fulfil their supervisory duties. Few factories and training organisations acknowledge the need for a safe working environment.

The global economic downturn stemming from the pandemic also threatened the very existence of the leather industry. Furthermore, it is not currently meeting the labour or environment standards of major markets, such as the EU or the US. However, this is necessary to ensure a competitive leather industry.


Workplace safety at tanneries is improved in selected areas of Bangladesh.


The project is involved in creating an effective tannery labour inspections system. This will lay the groundwork for labour inspection authorities to better fulfil their duties.

In addition, on the one hand, the project advises private-sector intermediaries such as leather exporters, local procurement offices and chemical suppliers. This includes raising awareness of occupational safety among employees. On the other hand, the project reinforces structures at universities and training institutions, and adapts curricula to national and international requirements.

 Last update: October 2022

Two men work in a tannery between stacks of hides. Copyright: GIZ/Victoria Hohenhausen.

Additional information