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There will be no space for those who position themselves ignoring sustainability

Apr 21, 2017 / Brazil
There will be no space for those who position themselves ignoring sustainability
At least this is the belief of José Fernando Bello, Executive Chairman of the Centre for the Brazilian Tanning Industry (CICB), who discussed the pressing issues of the tanning industry with the worldfootwear.com
José Fernando Bello has been working in the leather sector since 1970. With academic background in tanning, marketing and logistics, he was President and Director of the Brazilian Association of Technicians and Chemists for the Leather Industry (ABQTIC). Nowadays, working for the CICB, he is mainly focusing on activities for commercial promotion, sustainability in the industry and defense of leather in the national and international scope. We have talked to Mr. Bello to hear his views on the state of the leather industry in Brazil and in the international arena

How can we describe the recent evolution of the tannery industry in Brazil?
In the last few years there has been continuous investments in the industrial park and in technology, in more efficient production processes, quality controls and environment within the leather industry in Brazil. We have also worked hard to develop sustainable practices within our tanneries, in parallel with the enhancement of design attributes for our products. The country owns the Brazilian Leather Sustainability Certification (CSCB), an unprecedented recognition for the high environmental, social and economic standards in leather production.

Tell us a bit more about the Brazilian leather positioning in the markets?
Currently, the countries that import most leather from Brazil are China / Hong Kong, Italy and the United States. We have also worked hard to diversify markets, a successful strategy since nowadays Brazilian leather is exported to roughly 90 countries, on a yearly basis. About 30% of Brazil's leather production stays in the domestic market. Our positioning in the international market is based on the values of sustainability and value added, which is strongly combined with elements of design, innovation and delivery, providing finished leathers for various segments.

In your view, what are the main challenges faced by the tannery industry?
In Brazil we face a serious of challenges that other countries don’t have to deal with: we have a deficient structure for marketing our production; there is excessive bureaucracy in the economy and often we have to deal with the impacts of a volatile currency exchange. As a result, we constantly have to overcome our own abilities to meet the demanding delivery conditions practiced in the international markets.

The footwear industry is one of your customers. How important is the footwear industry to the tannery industry in Brazil? What particular challenges do customers from this sector impose you?
Despite using less quantities of leather than in the past, the footwear industry is still a relevant customer for our sector, consuming about 30% of our production (combining both the internal and external markets). To contemplate what these customers seeks, we work on creating products that are in tune with the fashion trends. Our challenges in this segment are in the sphere of increasingly small delivery times in a unsettling economic environment and bearing in mind this industry faces a list of increasing restrained substances.

In your view, what will be the main elements to be taken into account by the Brazilian tannery industry?
The sustainability agenda is definitive in the agenda of the final consumer and, consequently, in the agenda of tanneries’ clients, all over the world. Therefore, the alignment with a responsible production process, which is efficient without compromising the future of the society is already decisive for all the companies acting in the international markets. There will be no space for those who position themselves ignoring sustainability.

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