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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.
The discussion that is raging in investment circles around ESG investments seems far away from everyday life to the tanner struggling with the issues of avoiding loose or cracking grain and trying to make a margin in an exceptional business climate. Sales are less predictable than ever and yet pressures surround many raw material areas.
The world appears to have moved from house arrest to purgatory, with little prospect of ever escaping completely from COVID-19. Hopefully before long we will have a vaccine, but increasingly this looks like only a partial solution, allied with a danger of worrying repercussions if politicians shortcut the testing process to get it something out early. Even the countries that dealt with the pandemic most effectively and thought they could get quickly back to work have been stalled by the interconnected world where troubles elsewhere impact on their ability to function effectively.
The annual Design a Bag competition continued this year but was held online. There were three finalists and they were interviewed and questioned via a conference call and the interviews, the short results show and the videos from all three were shown as part of the interview process. It was remarkably successful, and the interviews were quite enlightening.
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.
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