Researsh & Study

Leather products from Bangladesh
Timeline: 2021

Millions of people around the world work to produce leather garments, footwear and accessories. South Asia is an important production hub, catering to the international market. Bangladesh has emerged as an important producer of leather footwear for the international market. This overview of trends in the production of leather and leather goods in Bangladesh collates information on the main products produced in Bangladesh, and on important export markets for its leather and leather goods. The report maps key Bangladesh-based leather manufacturers and foreign buying companies.

SOMO conducted this study to understand the production trends and exports and knowing relevant actors in the industry is essential to establish links between the leather industries in Bangladesh, the export markets and all actors involved. Bangladesh Labour Foundation (BLF) has provided essential information and insights into the leather industry in Savar, Dhaka.

Objectives: This study aims to improve working conditions and to reduce labour rights abuses, focusing on production hubs for leather products in South Asia – in particular the greater Dhaka region in Bangladesh.

Methodology: This study is based on desk research. Public and subscription-based databases were accessed to gather information about export trends.

Findings: The leather industry, which is the second-largest export earner for Bangladesh, has shown a significant decline in recent years. The industry also faces substantial challenges related to environmental and social impacts, particularly concerning tannery processes. These issues have led major brands like H&M and Deichmann to avoid using Bangladeshi leather, instead opting for imported leather for products manufactured in Bangladesh​​. The COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated these challenges, significantly impacting production and export activities. However, there are signs of recovery as political instability in Myanmar has redirected some international orders to Bangladesh​​. The study underscores the complexity and opacity of the leather supply chain in Bangladesh, which hinders transparency and traceability from production to end-product. This lack of transparency is due to both governmental and corporate reticence in disclosing detailed supply chain information.


  • Industry needs to invest in modernizing tanneries to reduce environmental pollution.
  • Worker welfare and labor conditions also require significant improvement.
  • Diversity the product range and moving up the value chain by focusing on high-end leather products can open new markets and increase export revenues.
  • Lastly, fostering strategic partnerships with international brands and investors can bring in much-needed expertise and capital.

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