Opening Ceremony of ACLE 2017
The 20th edition of the ACLE began with some 750 delegates mentally exhausted by an outstanding Day minus one at the 3rd World Leather Congress. Here they had worked through a hectic day interrogating the modern consumer, the world of e-commerce, the implications of the expectations for rapid production and almost instant delivery to consumers and all the aspects of modern corporate social responsibility (CSR).
CSR became an integral part of Day 1 at ACLE with the issue of transparency running through the Hidenet/APLF leather conference. It was a significant to the approach of the Italian tannery and one of the fundamental pillars behind the Product Passport introduced by Smit & zoon. The Product Passport shares detailed product information along with the technical impacts on leather and perhaps more significantly on solid and liquid wastes.
The floor of the show remained steadily active from fairly early on. At the early meetings the China Leather Industry Association published statistics that showed significant growth in 2017 in the leather sector after a slowdown in 2016 with a feeling that the lingering impact of the 2008 crisis was slipping away while improved global economic conditions were working through. European tanners, outside of the garment industry, were also seeing an improved 2017 and were positive to the end of the year.
Alongside this data from the US says that the kill will be high over the next two months and with the dollar a little weaker perhaps raw prices will be manageable for tanners.
Long term we were told that leather was in trouble in footwear as it has a struggle to find a role in the now dominant athleisure sector in the USA, where the shift to this type of wear in most parts of life – including banking – looks to be permanent. Perhaps some slight upward moves in leather women’s fashion footwear offers a glimmer of hope even in this sector.
A positive first day.