The first Sustainable Leather Forum (SLF) will take place in Paris on September 16, 2019 at the Maison de la FNTP (Fédération Nationale des Travaux Publics), close to the Champs Elysees, under the patronage of the French Ministry of Economy and Finance. The current Secretary of State, Agnès Pannier-Runacher, will represent the ministry for Economy and Finance and give the opening notes. The Forum is organised by the National Leather Council, an inter-professional organization of producers and users of leather. APLF is one of the many sponsors of the event.
Convening major French and international leather industry decision makers, Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) experts and governmental institutions, the event’s objective is to discuss the most critical environmental, social and ethical issues facing the leather industry and the planet. The extremely high temperatures experienced in Europe this summer, and expected to continue and worsen in coming years, are an additional call to question the impact of the leather and fashion industries on the environment and on climate change.
“The aim of the Sustainable Leather Forum is to demonstrate through examples and testimonies that French leather professionals are concerned about CSR and to show how they enforce it at different levels. Along with international experts and government representatives, they will share case studies and give tools on how they deploy CSR in their respective organisation,” explains Yves Morin, President of the SLF’s Organizing Committee.
“Through this event we want to give the French leather industry a voice and show that it is possible to run a profitable enterprise while respecting moral, ethical and environmental values,” Morin adds.
Speakers include representatives of the whole industry from tanners, footwear, leather goods and glove manufacturers to design and security advisors. Representatives of International institutions such as the European Commission and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) have also been eager to prepare and monitor the debates, according to Morin. The luxury sector is not to be outdone, with the presence of executives from Kering, Hermes and Louis Vuitton.
In comparison to other countries like Denmark, which hosted the first edition of the Copenhagen Fashion Summit in May, France has been rather quiet about the sustainability issues raised by its leather and fashion industries.
However, this is likely to change - earlier this year, the Mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo, announced plans to turn the city into the capital of sustainable fashion by 2024, the year when the Olympic Games are to be held in France. “Sloweare” and “Une autre mode est possible” are just two examples of grassroots organizations campaigning for sustainable fashion and mobilizing the global fashion system to change the way we produce, market and consume fashion in France .
Given its success, both in terms of speakers and participants – tickets sold like hot cakes -- the Sustainable Leather Forum which was originally due to be a onetime event is likely to become recurrent, albeit with a different format, Morin predicts.