The Association was founded in the year 1917 under the name "The Southern India Skin and Hide Merchants Association" ( SISHMA )
SISHMA was then serving the leather trade and industry of southern India. In 1978, it was converted into an All India body and renamed as "The All India Skin and Hide Tanners and Merchants Association".
The Association is an apex body to which various district and Regional Associations are affiliated. The Association has been representing to both Central and State Governments on the matters of import-export policies, labour, taxation.
The Association played a major role in setting up of Common Effluent Treatment Plant in clusters where there are tanneries situated and always lead in pollution and environment related issues to keep the environment free of pollution .There are 13 Common Effluent Treatment Plants (CETPs) in various tanning centers in Tamil Nadu. The industry is aware of its social obligations and the tanners are doing their best in construction and effective management of Effluent Treatment Plants. Happily there is no functional tannery in Tamil Nadu without being attached to a CETP/IETP.
On the pollution front, the Association took all the efforts to adopt the 'Zero Liquid Discharge' membrane technology by the tanners specially in Tamil Nadu successfully. The Association has taken all steps to manage the Hazardous Solid Waste in Secured Landfill with the guidance of CLRI and other technical bodies like NEERI.
The Association is also helping the tanners by importing the most essential pollution free and eco-friendly tanning material i.e. Wattle Extract, and distributing the same at landing cost, thus benefiting a large number of small tanners.