There is a global trend concerned with new production and consumption models, looking at the industry, agriculture, domestic and companies’ waste as a useful and valuable raw material. This is circular economy, widely discussed during the CSCB Sustainability Forum. Promoted by the Centre for the Brazilian Tanning Industry (CICB), the event took place at Feevale University, in Novo Hamburgo, Brazil. The CSCB Sustainability Forum had JBS Couros as gold sponsor and Stahl as silver sponsor. It also had the support from ABQTIC, IBTeC, and Feevale University.
A wide and qualified audience from within the leather, footwear and fashion segments honored the event, proving how relevant the theme is for the entire industry. The CSCB Forum – well-regarded as a starting point for important discussions between professionals, technicians and company directors from all over Brazil – served as a true platform for ideias, reflection and networking.
Circular economy expert Guilherme Brammer was responsible for opening the event. With the experience he gained from coordinating projects for companies such as Natura, Braskem and Nestlé, Brammer believes one of the crucial factors for circular economy to fully work is the creation of a real demand for waste. “We need to turn what would be garbage into an actual business. That’s what happened with the aluminum industry; cans are now immediately recycled after use, because there’s a market and value for them.” According to Brammer, exchange platforms, the transformation of products into services and a behavior focused on the reduction of waste are all attitudes well-connected with this movement.
As shown by lecturers at the Forum, in the leather, footwear and fashion industries circular economy permeates around all processes linked to sustainability. Michael Costello from Stahl talked about ZDHC (group of 21 major global brands, like Burberry, Gap and Kering), which works towards zero chemical waste and its MRSL (list of chemical substances banned by the group until 2020). According to him, these substances being banned is a growing trend, as well as an opportunity for companies to produce better and more efficiently. Costello says the chemical industry faces a great challenge: to offer solutions for tanneries to contemplate this new step into global production and consumption.
Fernando Bellese and Fabio Ruiz Preto covered cases of social responsibility at JBS Couros and Fuga Couros, respectively. According to both, working towards improving human capital should be part of every company’s culture and constantly articulated in its processes, considering topics that go from personnel capacitation and health issues to work safety and activities in the communities that surround the company. Bellese and Preto highlight that social responsibility is a sustainability pillar that should be worked not only at major corporations, but also at micro and small institutions.
The panel that closed the CSCB Sustainability Forum presented the vision of business executives regarding circular economy. It was moderated by José Fernando Bello (executive president of CICB) and had Edmundo Lima (executive director of ABVTEX), Gilmar Harth (president of Grupo Bom Retiro and president of the CICB Board of Directors) and Mario Spaniol (president of Carmen Steffens) as panelists. “There are challenges for this value chain, the need to quickly answer consumer demands, which are increasingly urgent”, said Lima. Spaniol added that sustainability is an important matter for his company’s work and should always be considered if one wishes to have a balance between production, processes and consumer market’s availability. Harth highlighted that Brazil is among the top countries regarding sustainability in the tanning industry, stating that a very clear example is the Brazilian Leather Certification of Sustainability (CSCB), which named the Forum and, as Bello exemplified, is a milestone for the leather industry – it’s the world’s first certification to contemplate the three sustainability dimensions: the economy, society, and the environment.