100 VIPs have been invited by IULTCS to a summit meeting in Paris on September 17. The meeting will be called the International Leather Forum, also known as the ‘Istanbul Initiative’ and is aimed at holding strategic and marketing discussions on the global leather industry.

The International Union of the Leather Technicians and Chemists Societies decided last May to organise this meeting which will bring together 100 VIPs in Palais Brogniart to reflect on the image of leather, its markets, market positioning, support of the industry supply chain and innovation.

Leather has, on one hand, an incredibly positive image in the mind of the consumer and it is utilised by the most famous brands; it is also a wonderful historic example of recycling. On the other hand, in recent years leather has lost a lot of markets and market share without creating any really new markets. There is also the risk of a loss of credibility when used in certain markets as a commodity.

The majority of tanneries are SMEs who are convinced of their skills and know how, but with a general lack of global strategic vision and marketing approach. The leather industry sector is too small and fragmented to justify big resource allocations for R&D by the suppliers and the dedicated Leather Research Centres are also generally small and spread around the world.

As Marc Folachier, president of the IULTCS, said in Istanbul: ‘there are places and times to compete and places and times to cooperate’. The goal of the International Leather Forum is to permit all the actors of the leather world to talk together with their clients and suppliers, to permit senior executives to discuss issues with research scientists, marketing managers, manufacturers, trainers and other relevant parties.