This second edition was focussed on identifying how to make the best use of the latest technologies to engage members, and also how to take most advantage of the knowledge and intelligence data of each national association in order to better assist footwear companies.

The participants exchanged on the possibilities offered by the latest IT technologies to enhance members’ engagement on key decisions for their businesses, while ensuring the effectiveness of the communication and working closer with them. On the topic of corporate social responsibility, they agreed there is an urgent need to reduce the number of audits for footwear companies, and that both private and public stakeholders had to work in this direction instead of producing new certification schemes.

In this respect, they agreed to align under a unique code of conduct to guide footwear companies, and work on raising awareness on the need to implement a solid social responsibility strategy that will foster a healthy workplace along the supply chain.

In terms of market access, it was agreed that trade tariffs should be removed worldwide, and the associations need to work closely with the public authorities to achieve this. In accordance with the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement, the respresentatives committed to work together on elaborating useful intelligence tools to facilitate companies to penetrate new markets.

“It has clearly been a more open and collaborative forum than the previous, with representatives actively proposing and committing themselves in joint initiatives. The more we meet, the more we will be able to achieve together, either in the elimination of trade barriers, or any other subject of common interest. I look forward to our next Forum in 2017, and in the meantime, we will keep informed and work on the agreed initiatives”, said Cleto Agripanti, President, European Confederations of the Footwear Industry.