World Footwear


Clémentine Colin-Richard (French Shoe Federation): it is urgent to have harmonisation in sustainability regulations

Apr 11, 2023 France
Today we bring you an interview with Clementine Colin-Richard, President of the French Shoe Federation and administrator of the family SME Richard-Pontvert SA (Paraboot brand). Watch the video and learn about the state of the French footwear industry and the main challenges it is facing

French Footwear Industry

Last year, the French footwear market has nearly approached the pre-COVID level, and we are very pleased with that, especially in terms of turnover. The brands have sold less but more expensive. We don’t know about this year as it is a little bit too early to answer it with sure. Exports are still very important for us, and they have increased 25%.

Challenges for French companies

The biggest challenge is to secure the manufacture. There is a lot of trouble with that. Also, to do deal with the inflation on the raw materials, on energy and more and some more. To also comply with all the regulations on sustainability: there is a lot of things coming and there is no harmonisation in Europe about that topic.

What is Sustainability?

Sustainability is so big. I think you can put everything inside sustainability. You are speaking about people, about way of manufacturing, about the quality of raw materials, about the regulations, and so on. So, when addressing sustainability, you have to work on several topics. And that represents too many topics for the manufacturers, because their first job is to manufacture.

Maybe today (sustainability) is a fashion trend, but we have to change the point of view. Take that fashion trend and make it a true trend, because I think there are a lot of good things about sustainability. But for the moment is more looking like a fashion trend or all we hear is about greenwashing and related topics, which is bad publicity for sustainability.

New regulations on Sustainability

French wants to go ahead with sustainability regulations, maybe because we are more on that topic. For me, what I would like to do is to go along with all the countries, together. Because if the French are doing something but the other countries are not agreeing on it, it is going to be very difficult for the companies if they have to follow the rules of each country, all over the world. It is not possible.

Fashion industry: the role for Europe

I really think today Europe is in a good place to keep the trends, to keep the fashion around it. Designers from America, and even from Asia, are getting along, but they come to Europe, and they create, and they design thinking about Europe. So, we shouldn’t be ashamed. We should keep it, and we are able to keep it, in Europe.

For me, there can be a very important role for Europe for the next years about sustainability and about defining rules that we can apply to everyone in Europe, but also outside Europe. Just to be sure that the sustainability rules that we want for Europe, are also impacting all the companies around the world.

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