World Footwear


5th edition of CEC's International Footwear Forum gathers 25 associations

Feb 5, 2021 CEC
5th edition of CEC's International Footwear Forum gathers 25 associations
The European Footwear Confederation (CEC) organised the fifth edition of the International Footwear Forum (IFF) on the 2nd of February 2021. Held virtually, the IFF brought together 25 associations from 24 countries across the globe to discuss current common challenges for the footwear industry
As CEC's President Luís Onofre said it in his opening speech, “we are here today in search of inspiration: how can we best help our industry survive and progress in this new reality?”. And that was the kickoff for a session with two speakers, who presented their views on the best strategies to restore growth and set forth key elements expected to shape the recovery. Denis Redonnet, Deputy Director-General and Chief Trade Enforcement Officer at DG Trade in the European Commission, insisted on the role of open and rules-based trade to underpin the economic recovery. Achim Berg, Senior Partner & Global Leader of McKinsey’s Apparel, Fashion, and Luxury group, highlighted the long lasting changes brought about by the crisis and how disruptions in the supply chain and consumer behaviour have changed the playbook to succeed for good.

The idea that engaging with global partners to ensure a level-playing field and supporting a system relying on open trade based on rules is the best possible policy stand today was discussed during the event. As Mr. Onofre pointed out in his opening speech, protectives measures, often portrayed as a way to shield national industries from the economic crisis, really result in less competitive companies over the medium-to-long term. Openness and clear rules will be beneficial for all EU and global industries where there is a global integration of supply chains. But Denis Redonnet insisted that trade policy be well fitted to the new challenges that emerged from the crisis. Trade will play a big role in the recovery, but only if its approach and the agreements upholding it are modernised and better tailored to the new reality.

Achim Berg emphasised how devastating 2020 had been for the fashion industry, with total economic profits being 93% below 2019’s levels. In addition to lower profits and hampered growth, the COVID-19 crisis will result in long-lasting changes in consumer demand, consumer behaviour, and retail models. As Mr Berg noted “the playbook to succeed has changed for good” because the crisis has disrupted the fashion supply chain, from sourcing to store economics. Yet, all is not doomed for the fashion industry in a post-COVID-19 world: digital and eCommerce are creating new opportunities to set up efficient digital strategies and attract new consumers, Sustainability is gaining momentum and becoming economically attractive, and competitive companies have an opportunity to seize market shares from their peers and expand their operations.

International Footwear Forum

On the occasion of the 2014 World Footwear Congress held in León, México in November 2014, the European Confederation of the Footwear Industry (CEC) launched the International Footwear Forum (IFF) to reinforce dialogue and commitment between worldwide footwear associations and confederations. The IFF aims at establishing a regular and structured dialogue, where delegates can openly discuss about the experiences they face with companies and with their administrations, as well as identify joint initiatives that can promote their companies’ growth.