madeincolours was officially launched in May 2014 with the aim of making the consumer understand the deep differences, especially in terms of safety for health and environmental protection, between a product made within the European Union and one imported from outside (from non-EU countries) and to give the correct value to the EU manufacturing industry. Leather, fabrics, wood and paper are just some of the main substrata that we colour and which then, at the end of a long production chain, arrive on the shelves, available to the end consumers, in the form of accessories, clothing, packaging, paper and cardboard products. The real Made in EU starts right here, from the colouring of these basic elements which are used to make up the finished product. Unfortunately today the end consumer who buys the article in the store knows nothing of the tanneries, the dyeing houses, the printing houses or the paper mills which make an essential contribution to guaranteeing his/her safety and that of the environment in which we live by complying with very strict EU regulations (the REACH Regulation), and continues to buy goods from non-European countries where controls are definitely insufficient and extremely wide use is made of substances that are harmful to the health of man and the environment.


The REACH Regulation is an extremely strict and costly European regulation which obliges European industries to analyse in depth all the chemical substances used inside the EU: to analyse, classify and define how and where they can be used. The average cost of registering every substance, above all in connection with the toxicological and eco-toxicological studies imposed by the provision and the complex technical work, can be estimated at € 50,000 per substance. A distributor of colourants has an average range of 300 substances and would have to spend about Euro 15 million to comply with the REACH Regulation. On one hand, this certainly guarantees the health of consumers and of our environment, but on the other it penalises our industry, burdening it with extremely high costs and in fact it encourages companies to delocalise, to carry out processes outside EU where controls are practically non-existent and therefore costs are lower.


The consumer must therefore be placed in a position to understand these differences and to be able to make acquainted choices when he/she enters a store to buy a product. One could object that it is sufficient to buy products bearing the “made in” label! But at present the “made in” label, for that matter not yet obligatory by law, tells us only that the product has been “made up” in a certain country, in order to be labelled Made in EU. It is sufficient to buy leather tanned and finished who knows where, and to cut it and assemble a shoe here, in order to sell it as a shoe Made in EU. It is sufficient to buy fabric or yarn dyed outside Europe, and to sew on the buttons or the zip in this country, in order to obtain the Made in EU label. In fact, the trickiest phase of the production process is precisely that in which chemical substances are used, and this is the process which should be controlled and traced in a serious manner. Unfortunately this takes place only inside the European Union at present.


The real problem today is that the consumer cannot know where the chemical products were used, i.e. where the article was coloured. madeincolours would therefore like the production chain to be to transparently traced, to thus induce the company which places the article on the market to attach an informative label to the finished article by means of the QR code, which will distinguish products coloured inside the European Union from those coloured outside. In short, the label will follow the path of the coloured substratum, arriving at the end consumer, who will finally be able to recognise the chain the product has followed, to read the history of the product and to know the contribution of each party involved. The madeincolours mark and certification will mean “coloured inside the European Union in respect of the standards in force” (REACH Regulation); it cannot and does not wish to be a certification of the article tout court but it will inform the consumer that the production chain functions in a virtuous manner to minimise risks and to optimise quality and safety.