Continue on the path of sustainability and an increasingly circular economy model. See 2020 as a dramatically disruptive year. And that, precisely for this reason, has required (and will continue to require) a structurally evolutionary approach to the tannery, because only in this way can it challenge the emergency.
In this interview by La Conceria, Chiara Mastrotto (president of the Gruppo Mastrotto of Arzignano and recently joined the General Council of UNIC - Italian Tanneries) outlines the present and future horizons of the Italian leather industry.
First of all, a comment in relation to her entry into the UNIC Council - Italian Tanneries ...
I accepted the invitation to join the UNIC General Council with a great sense of responsibility. My commitment will be addressed, as in the spirit of the association, to the enhancement of our sector, to face together, with the greatest possible clarity and foresight, the present and future challenges.
The priorities of Italian leather
What are, in your opinion, the 2 main priorities for the Italian leather industry and why?
On the one hand, safeguarding and promoting the competitiveness of our companies on international markets. On the other hand, the maintenance and consolidation of that path towards sustainability that UNIC has already started for years. The new models of economic recovery must, in fact, ensure both environmental and social sustainability and the tanning sector is at the center of an economy that must be increasingly brought back to a circular model.
Defying the emergency
How did you see 2020 evolve, in relation to your business perspective?
2020 was a completely "disruptive" year in which the health emergency had serious economic consequences worldwide. If I look at our company, I can say that the lockdown has pushed us to evolve. We armed ourselves with resilience and learned to create contingency plans, to implement rapid actions in response to emergencies, working very closely within ourselves with all our people. I refer both to the aspects of protecting the health of our workers and the healthiness of the workplace, and to the changing needs of our customers in terms of service, logistics, product development and digitalization. Since after the summer, we have seen a decent recovery in orders, even if the path to reach pre-Covid 19 levels I believe will still be long.
In this regard, what kind of developments do you foresee for 2021?
Many economic forecasts, but above all the beginning of the vaccination campaign and the consequent desirable recovery of consumer confidence and tourist flows, make us think of a widespread and generalized start of "economic restart" over the next year. We will have to work closely with all our customers, always putting them at the center of our processes and developing a very strong service and innovation partnership. In any case, to get to the volumes of 2019, we will presumably have to wait until 2022-23.
The trend of acquisitions
At multiple levels along the supply chain, 2020 has strengthened a trend that has been going on for some years: that of acquisitions and mergers. Do you think it will continue in 2021 and for what reason?
Our sector, in fact, follows the dynamics already seen in other sectors. Furthermore, in tanning the fragmentation of the market and being part of the supply chain of sectors such as fashion and automotive, in which large international brands and players operate, I believe will ensure that this trend will be confirmed also in the future.