Held twice a year at the Metropolitan Pavilion in Chelsea, Lineapelle New York is the benchmark event for the industry in North America. A traditional two-day event which boasts the participation of over 100 top-flight exhibitors, it displays the most exclusive European and international producers of leather, textiles and synthetics, components and hardware for shoes, handbags, leather goods, leatherwear, upholstery and car interiors.
Yet Lineapelle is not only an occasion for insiders and key-players to meet, and benefit from a sneak preview of the latest trends for Summer 2018, in anticipation of Lineapelle Milan (Fieramilano Rho, from February 21 to 23, 2017). It also organizes presentations and seminars on topics related to the tanning industry. Presented by UNIC (National Tanning Industry Union) and ICEC (Institute of Quality Certification for the Leather Sector), the seminar of this year titled Disrupting Sustainability: How to identify and focus on key objectives and innovate risk management in globalized leather supply chains, and was organized in partnership with the Italian Ministry for Economic Development as well as the Italian Trade Commission (ICE), whose Executive Director, Maurizio Forte, opened the works.
Moderated by Sam Poser — financial analyst specialised in the footwear industry — Disrupting Sustainability aimed at tackling sustainability through the entire leather supply chain involved in the fashion and luxury industries.
Federico Brugnoli, CEO of SPIN360, was the first speaker on the floor: he presented the results of a study on the sustainable approach of 130 European and American brands and a group of Italian tanneries, whose turnover represents 25% of the entire national sector. “Practices that do not fulfil criteria of sustainability represent a very high risk for brands, in terms of loss of reputation”, explains Brugnoli, and goes on, “Not surprisingly, these brands are currently developing some extremely inclusive risk management procedures related to sustainability. And Italian tanneries have the great task of bringing sustainability itself across their whole activities and research.” Before ending his speech, CEO Brugnoli cared to specify that “disrupt”, in the title of the seminar, is layered with a totally positive connotation: it evokes an idea of “change from the past”, not of destruction — even more so if we consider that sustainability is growing in importance in the leather supply chain every passing day, and this trend is going to be irreversible in the future.
After SPIN360, ICEC, represented by auditor Giacomo Zorzi, introduced the tools tanneries can rely upon to guarantee the virtuous management of each aspect of sustainability, including environment, workplace health safety, human rights, respect for the final consumer, chemical risk management, traceability, animal welfare. Zorzi stressed the need to implement a new approach within the supply chain that “creates efficiency at all levels”. In this regard, a Sustainability Free Pass, based on the suppliers’ and customers’ mutual sharing of high-level sustainable models, is seen as an innovative strategy to ensure total compliance with sustainability principles. “We are proposing the industry”, Zorzi commented, “new management tools for an industrial activity based on an effective transparency, enabling supply chain actors’ relationships to evolve in a virtuous, informed and concrete way.”
The seminar ended on the speech held by Luca Solca, financial analyst at Exane BNP Paribas, who related about the sustainability in the context of the Luxury System, outlining the current economic situation and its prospects.
Disrupting Sustainability has been put in place as a specific event for the American market, which in the first nine months of 2016, and for the 7th year in a row, has improved its commercial performance against Italian leather, acquiring 12% more of the market share compared to 2015. As proved by the 14th Edition of the “Sustainability Report” released in December 2016 by UNIC, Italian tanners remained the acknowledged leaders, while American customers are showing a growing awareness towards sustainable and environmental commitment that they consider a powerfully competitive tool leading to a progressive upgrade of materials and finished products.
After much thinking and talking, the audience was eventually presented with two treats. The screening of Niente per caso, a well-shot short-movie by Michele Pecchioli (Aria Advertising) for Cuoio di Toscana, which premiered at Venice Film Festival and graciously portrays the life of a woman sole-leather designer in Tuscany. And a buffet by Piccolo Café, whose risotto and tagliatelle did their job in securing sustainability — the participants’, this time…