The Sustainable Leather Forum will take place on 14 September

The Sustainable Leather Forum, organised by the Conseil National du Cuir, will take place on 14 September 2020. More than 200 participants have already registered. Frank Boehly, President of CNC, and Yves Morin, Chair of the SLF Organisation Committee tell us what we can look forward to in this second edition.

Can you briefly remind us what the Sustainable Leather Forum is, for those who were unable to attend the 2019 edition?

Frank Boehly: The Sustainable Leather Forum is the first international forum organised in Paris focused on Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) in the leather, footwear and leather goods industries. More than 300 participants attended the first edition. Some 30 speakers – from SMEs to major luxury labels, not forgetting institutional representatives – took the floor in a series of round tables and keynote speeches to discuss and debate CSR, which is at the heart of our sector. Four main themes were chosen for this first forum:

  • Consumer expectations given the image of fashion and luxury goods,
  • CSR from farming to finished leathers,
  • CSR in manufacturing, sourcing and distribution in the footwear sector,
  • The responsible approach in leather goods.

In light of the context of the recent months, companies must revise their priorities and imagine the world of tomorrow. Is CSR the best response for achieving this objective? The Sustainable Leather Forum was the foundation for building a common frame of reference across all of our professions in order to help companies evaluate the implementation of a responsible approach.

You just mentioned the current pandemic situation. Under these circumstances, why have you decided to maintain this edition?

Frank Boehly: The pandemic has generated an unprecedented economic crisis which is also affecting companies in our sector. In the context of such profound disruption, the need to talk, discuss and debate our point of view is more important than ever. Our forum will be the occasion to revise priorities, share best practices, and encourage initiatives and innovative approaches in order to lay the foundations, together, for even more responsible development. We therefore consider SLF Paris to be the essential event of the new season. It is also the occasion to demonstrate that recovery is possible, that France can be the driving force, particularly in the fashion and luxury sectors. Of course, all the necessary health measures have been taken to ensure optimal protection for all participants.

What can we expect from this second edition?

Yves Morin: Once again, the Ministry of the Economy and Finance has graced us with their patronage. This recognition places Sustainable Leather Paris on the calendar of important professional events on the international stage.

The programme for this edition was already well underway before the crisis. We have had to revise it to be as close as possible to reality. Thus, session one will address CSR and risk management in order to anticipate and better-manage crisis situations, with participation from ratings agencies and technical organisations presenting tools and methodologies. Session two will be led by the upstream players – raw hides and tanneries – and will address innovations and best practices including animal well-being. The second part of the day will open with the subject of the Circular Economy, a very important concept in industries such as leather goods and footwear, which use large amounts of raw materials. We will close this edition with session four dedicated to training, know-how, regions and attractiveness, asking how expertise can be preserved and passed on? These are the CSR challenges for the sector. Exclusive keynote speeches will punctuate this second edition, which boasts the presence of very important guests!  

On that subject, what is the profile of the speakers?

Yves Morin: Once again this year, there will be two types of speaker. Firstly, testimonies from companies in the sector, notably the luxury labels who have agreed to take the floor. Thus, Kering, LVMH and Hermès are scheduled to give keynote speeches. During the round tables we will hear from SMEs and major groups, in sectors ranging from raw materials to finished goods.

In addition, experts and international institutions, such as market research firms, ratings agencies, technical and institutional bodies will speak.

The panel of speakers closely reflects the make-up of our sector. It is important to remember that it doesn’t matter how big a company is, or what sector it works in, CSR is a subject that affects us all!

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