World Footwear


Richard Blume: Sustainability is not going away

Oct 6, 2022 Sweden
Today we share with you a conversation with Richard Blume, Senior Sustainability Strategist at Natural Step. We have talked about leather as a material used by the footwear industry and reflected on the various sustainability topics. Watch the video


Leather is a waste product from the food industry, essentially. So, what is the alternative? Should we not use that waste product? You can argue it and talk about it from that angle: we have so many resources that otherwise won’t be used. And you can also talk about it from the perspective of the quality of the product itself. Leather is a fantastic product to make footwear out of it: it is durable, it gets better with age, we can clean it, and there are all sorts of benefits on that side. At the moment global consumption of meat is increasing, so there is a larger number of leather materials and hides that can be used for leather products.


More people, less resources, creating increasing pressure and we will continue to have more and more problems with sustainability, or unsustainability, until we find out how to address everything from climate to biodiversity loss to chemical pollution to and even social dimensions. So, (sustainability) is definitely a mega trend and is really important that businesses and all sectors around the world understand that this is not going away: regulations are increasing, and consumer demand will continue to increase as well. Big fashion brands are introducing circular concepts; you see it in the way consumer preferences are changing, you see it in labelling, there is a lot going on. I think that maybe then it comes down to making the product the most sustainable, and then production and the whole of the supply chain, and all materials that are needed, they also need to be optimised. We are looking for it more from a circular economy perspective.


(Big challenges will be) Consumption and engaging the consumer in making the right choices, having the right products available, and then knowing what to do to choose the most sustainable option.

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Related Organizations

  • Sweden's Association of Shoemakers

    Sweden's Association of Shoemakers