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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.
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.
Day two was clearly a little quieter than the opening day but the quality of meetings was probably improved as a consequence. The final figures will show if this reflects footfall or the success of the parallel programme of events which fill all three days and more. The morning had an early start with the Leather Naturally Breakfast with a packed room being updated on the organisation, membership and crowdfunding for the campaign. There is clear momentum in the activity and the initial target is clearly close.
Speaking at the highly successful Global Footwear Executive Summit on the day before the fair Frank Lavin of Export Now said that “MOTS” was one of the most common management processes when it comes to planning.
What are tanneries for? In owning and running a tannery many skills are developed over the years. Working with collagen, the technology of the non-woven material that we call suede splits, surface coating, complex waste management related to liquids, solids and gaseous emissions along with a wide variety of more specialist technologies that might depend on locality, market sector, staff skills or history.
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