6 January 2023

The chief executive of leather chemicals group Royal Smit & Zoon, Hans van Haarst, has called on companies in the global leather value chain to embrace change in 2023, writes Leatherbiz.

In a message for the new year, Mr van Haarst said companies must seek to work together to develop a broad perspective of how to make sure leather and finished products that use leather can meet a series of crucial challenges.

He listed these as tightening legislation and regulation, changing end-consumer preferences, societal demands for circularity and all aspects of environmental, social, and corporate governance, and changes in supply chains resulting from geopolitical and macro-economic circumstances.

“Even though there are many excellent initiatives along our supply chain,” he said, “change is too slow and too little.” He said that companies must examine how they can work together to shape a positive future for the leather value chain instead of “spending time, money, and effort on resisting change”.

He said the high level of fragmentation in the leather industry, at all stages, “certainly does not help” and added that a transparent and efficient system would represent “a tremendous leap forward”.

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