Kerry Brozyna, Vice President and General Manager Leather at Wolverine Leather, and Thomas Schneider, Founder and Executive Chairman of ISA TanTec, participated in a panel discussion during the Summit that addressed the key drivers of leather in regaining market share in the footwear sector. Responding to a question by moderator and ILM columnist, Mike Redwood “if is leather too complicated of a material for use in footwear today”, Schneider said that more complications come from sources such as plastic, and synthetics but the leather industry is often faced with common misconceptions, which include the disrespect of animal welfare, environmental pollution and heavy chemical consumption, which can be misleading. “We strive to help our customers promote leather so that the right messages will reach the consumers. We work on innovative and compelling stories that focus on the sustainability of leather. We provide marketing materials such as hangtags and online information in order to support brands with their marketing initiatives”, said Schneider.

He also explained how tanners can support footwear brands on educating consumers. “Our customers are global brands with high sustainability standards. We are able to provide our customers the water and energy saving index of every individual ISA product”, said Schneider, adding that they are “able to choose the leather with lowest environmental impact, which can be passed along to the consumers as an educational element.”

After a recent audit by the Leather Working Group, ISA Tan Tec has announced that its tanneries, Heshan TanTec in China and Saigon TanTec in Vietnam, have both maintained their Gold status, while Mississippi TanTec in the U.S. and Scamosceria del Brenta (Scabrenta) in Italy have obtained Silver Awards. Read more here.