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Mike Redwood is the spokesperson for the LeatherNaturally! programme being developed by the world's top tanneries to promote leather as a high quality sustainable material. He is the Visiting Professor for Leather at the University of Northampton and is a Teaching Fellow in Marketing at Bath University. Originally a leather chemist he has spent his career in tanneries, footwear and sports companies moving through technical and general management to eventually focus on marketing and innovation. He has held senior positions in companies such ADOC, Pittards, FootJoy and ECCO working in Italy, The Netherlands and Latin America before returning to his home in the UK.
2020 always looked like a difficult year but who would have expected as December ended that the year was going to be dominated by another event like SARS 17 years ago. It panicked the world and led to the postponement of the APLF fair in Hong Kong.
It is in such areas that we have seen a near tsunami of articles blaming cattle for climate change. These began in 2006 when the FAO published Livestock’s Long Shadow which looked at the environmental impact of livestock. To maximise the publicity for it the press release chose headlines that argued that livestock’s impact was greater than transport.
It was snowing, according to APLF Director Michael Duck, twenty two years ago when the All China Leather Exhibition started and the damp, grey weather was even more dismal this morning: only to be perfectly matched by the first report by Mr. Chen Zhang Guang, Secretary General of China Leather Industry Association to be almost totally loaded with shrinking rather than expanding numbers.Our September 3 issue of Leatherbiz Weekly includes the latest edition of our exclusive Leather Pipeline market intelligence report.
We are now regularly hearing about hides being thrown away. We heard it first about skins in New Zealand, and then about hides in Latin America, followed by sheepskins in the UK. Now it is coming from the USA of all places. The latest I have read is from an article about Ethiopia, where the tanners were blaming the problem on the ban on part processed leather exports. Underlying it, without doubt is a reduced demand for lower grades.
There can be no doubt that the 2019 APLF was one of the most important in its history. The leather trade has had a difficult two years, with some sectors suffering badly and even the stronger ones, such as automotive, looking at a complex and uncertain future.
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