The CSCB Sustainability forum: results from a momentous event


The CSCB Sustainability Forum was held the afternoon of Thursday, November 8th with the main guidelines of already proven positive experiences and innovative, promising possibilities for the leather industry's work. The event brought together a qualified public at the Senai Institute of Technology in Leather and the Environment in Estância Velha, focused on its central theme "What's the Return on Sustainable Investments?".

The forum was held by the Brazilian Leather Certification of Sustainability (CSCB) with support from the Brazilian Leather project, an initiative of the Centre for the Brazilian Tanning Industry (CICB) and the Brazilian Trade and Investment Promotion Agency (Apex-Brazil) to encourage the participation of Brazil's leathers in foreign markets.  Gold sponsors were JBS Couros and Química Carioca, and silver sponsors were SystemHaus and Euro-América.

Rafael Andrade, design and innovation consultant for the CICB, opened the cycle of lectures addressing the issue of communication. He showed the recent evolution of the CICB's positioning in which a value proposition was created for the Brazilian leather industry worldwide, and what it means for the coming years. "We need to question our business model. Every company needs to think about the future. Consumers are saturated with information and being able to talk to the new generation is imperative," said Rafael, while presenting trends in narrative and resources that the industry should adopt soon. Moderated by the CICB's executive president José Fernando Bello, the audience Q&A session was particularly geared towards the importance of creating exclusive communication departments within tanneries.

The second panel had three young, talented professionals sharing their experiences in leather, design, and the furniture industry: Pedro Enger, director of Brava Forma, and Maurício Noronha and Rodrigo Brenner, from Furf Design Studio. With 30 years of history in the luxury furniture market, Brava Forma understands its segment as a place where researching trends and converging with what customers want in their homes is absolutely necessary, as Pedro explained. "Leather is an element that has helped us in our evolution. We look for certified leathers and today there's growing demand on the part of consumers due to leather conferring nobility and the high durability it provides to products", he stressed. Design is meaning, explained Rodrigo at the start of Furf's presentation. "Our question is 'what are we bringing to the world?' The planet asks for higher self-esteem, poetry... intangible things. Through products, we're able to provide this," he said. Mauricio and Rodrigo also told the story of the Confete, a colorful leg prosthesis covering developed by the duo that managed to be cost-effective and elevate the self-esteem of its users, winning the three biggest design awards in the world. The audience's questions were received by CICB Chairman Gilmar Harth, who reinforced the importance for the leather industry not to wait for what clients ask for but rather to develop solutions and innovations for them, in addition to the current value of communication - including for leather.

Italian Primiano De Rosa-Giglio from Lineapelle / Unic participated discussing the results from the Joint Study of the Confederation of National Associations of Tanners from the European Community (Cotance) and the National Union of the Italian Tannery Industry (Unic), which developed the Environmental Product Footprint Rules (PEFCR) for Leather in a project linked to the European Commission for the Single Market for Green Products project. Four years of research in the design of this document enabled tanneries to fully assess the environmental footprint of their products, including important improvements in production processes, measurement of results, and analysis of chemical inputs. Panelist Francisco Beduschi of the US Environmental Protection Agency (NWF) spoke about the entity's collaborative approach and the relevant role the leather industry can play in stimulating improvement in raising livestock.  Ernani Pohren, CEO of Química Carioca, answered audience questions and started his participation off by discussing the new professionals that are coming to the leather industry- possible opportunities for these talents and specialization.

Finishing up the cycle of lectures, Arezzo & Co. and Calçados Bibi talked about relationships with suppliers, the cultures of both companies, and perspectives in the field of certifications and sustainability. Cisso Klaus, for Arezzo, stressed that the word "transparency" guides the company's relationship with its network of suppliers, as does constant stimulation of improvement. "It's no use being sustainable if our value chain isn't too," he said. Ismael Fischer, for Bibi, listed opportunities for the growth of its suppliers, such as punctuality and product uniformity. "We want to support the development of our partners so that we can all grow in efficiency and competitiveness," he said. The public's questions were mediated by José Fernando Bello, who emphasized that Arezzo and Bibi are two extremely positive examples of the Brazilian footwear industry in innovation and customer care.

The panel with Arezzo and Bibi was followed by a very important highlight of the CSCB Sustainability Forum: the signing of a partnership agreement between the two companies and the Brazilian Leather Certification of Sustainability. The agreement encourages both companies' suppliers to participate and be recognized by the program, which disseminates best practices in tannery production based on the pillars of society, environment, and economy. The signing was attended by Gilmar Harth, President of the Board of Directors of the CICB, and José Fernando Bello.

At the closing of the event, Vinicius Fonte, project manager of the Brazilian Association of Machinery and Equipment Industries for the Leather, Footwear, and Related Industries (Abrameq) launched a new project for the next edition of Fimec: the installation of Curtume 4.0 during the fair. Vinicius explained that the project will provide visitors with a clear view of the productive process and the correct adequacy of the machines used therein.