The aim was to get 100 of the top people from all branches of the industry under one roof to discuss the future of the leather industry, looking at it from the differing perspectives of education, research, marketing and positive communication (handling of crises as well as good marketing strategies).
With the whole world to choose from it was a difficult task to come up with a comprehensive list and even more of a feat to get them all to come (at their own expense). In the event, they received an 80% acceptance rate which is commendable. One notable exception was that no one from China attended, since it was too close to the Shanghai fair. Nor were there any delegates from Africa or Russia. Attendees represented those countries with developed leather industry research and educational facilities. Those from furthest away were from Argentina, Brazil, India and the United States.
Industry sectors present were spread across education, research, chemicals and machinery suppliers, public relations and a few members of the press, raw materials, tanners and finished goods (Hermès, Louis Vuitton) and automotive (BMW, Peugeot).
The event was extremely well organised by AFICTIC (IULTCS member society) and sponsored by CNC, CIDIC and CTC. There was an opening cocktail party the evening before, a lavish luncheon and a champagne farewell, allowing plenty of time to network or simply socialise. We will be writing more about the event in a later issue but the main message appeared to be that industry should become more involved in education and also agree common areas of research cooperation to avoid costly duplication. It was accepted that at some point companies needed to go it alone to differentiate their products but at a more fundamental level such as pollution control it was in everyone’s interest to not only work together but to share information.