Highlights of the 2nd CICB Sustainability Forum – August 28th 2013


Professionals from different countries and sectors participated in the 2nd CICB Sustainability Forum which took place on August 28th at Fenac Events Center in Novo Hamburgo (RS). More than 600 people attended the sessions that were presented by some of the most renowned experts in the world on current and innovative themes within the overall context of sustainability. The event was hosted by the Centre for the Brazilian Tanning Industry (CICB).

With an enthusiastic audience and very active participation the meeting demonstrated the wide interest and concern of the leather and footwear industry related to sustainability issues. Its interdisciplinary format motivated the debate and was highlighted by the expression of numerous experiences on a topic that brings together economic, social and environmental issues.


CICB’s Executive President, José Fernando Bello, inaugurated the opening of the conference which was followed by the first panel - Technical Barriers: Certification, Legislation, Rules and Procedures - which had as speaker the Italian specialist in Sustainability, Life Cycle Assessment and Leather Performance Management - Federico Brugnoli. Federico highlighted the sustainable nature of leather which is obtained from renewable sources, although, very frequently, this fact is badly misunderstood.


"Over 99% of global leather production is derived from animals that have been raised for other economic purposes (for instance, meat and milk production). Therefore, the cattle slaughter process is not primarily intended for the use of leather", he emphasized. Federico also detailed the advances and importance of livestock identification, traceability, sanitary information and animal welfare procedures that are all important for the leather industry. Roberto Kamelman, advisory council member of the Abqtic (Brazilian Association of Chemists and Leather Industry Technicians) was the moderator of the panel.

Ronaldo Fraga was the second speaker at the event. The designer was responsible for the Leather Design and Sustainability panel moderated by the stylist Mauricio Medeiros. Ronaldo presented the Design na Pele/Design in Skin Project, carried out in 2013 by the CICB with the support of Apex-Brasil (Brazilian Trade and Investment Promotion Agency). As explained by Ronaldo, the project dealt with the development of special hides along with tanneries from the entire country, and, subsequently, the development of fashion and design items from this material.


"Leather has been in evidence and constantly highlighted in international collections. European brands understand and work with it in such way so as to enhance the attributes and design of the skins. Some of its qualities are its durability, versatility and its hisstory – as it is one of the oldest materials used by mankind, and most likely the first natural one that was modified by man. My experience in the Design na Pele project has been a two way street: providing support in search of the cultural and design styles with identity appropriation, and I also have been able to understand more about the sector, which is a brilliant “transformation industry”. It is also very positive as is the great concern in regard to sustainability practices within the tannery industry", he stated.

The lecturer from the UK, Michael Appleby, brought to the 2nd CICB Sustainability Forum his experience of humanitarian ways of slaughtering animals and the importance of livestock welfare in order to provide good quality leather. According to him there is a direct connection between the way animals are raised and the final product for the tannery. Michael defends the consumption of meat in the world providing satisfactory farming and slaughter conditions are employed - such as: no cuts in fences; no burns or electric shocks; no stress during transportation to the slaughterhouse and animals should be rendered unconscious before they are slaughtered. The panel Leather, Past and Future: Ecology, Economy and Ethics of Sustainability, presented by Michael was moderated by Fernando Sampaio, Executive Director of the Association of Brazilian Beef Exporters (ABIEC).


The event had reserved its grand finale for navigator Amyr Klink, an economist and business administrator with more than two thousand lectures on topics related from maritime navigation to strategic business management. Amyr spoke on the topic Navigating in a Sustainable World, which relates his experience in almost three decades of navigation through the world, which includes more than 40 expeditions to Antarctica. Amyr detailed his learning process while rowing across oceans; experiencing the feelings and challenges faced in his solitary voyages (such as the first time he rowed the Atlantic Ocean); technology and empirical knowledge appraisal and the work being developed in his boat yeard.


JBS Couros was the Master Sponsorship of the 2nd CICB Sustainability Forum. Gold Sponsorship: Clariant and Fenac (Exhibition and Business Center). Silver Sponsorship: Abrameq (Brazilian Industry of Machinery and Equipment for Leather, Footwear and allied products). Support: AICSul (Association of Tanning Industries of Rio Grande do Sul State), Apex-Brasil (Brazilian Trade and Investment Promotion Agency) and IBTeC (Brazilian Institute of Technology for Leather and Footwear). Co-organisation: Abqtic (Brazilian Association of Chemists and Leather Industry Technicians).

Adapted by Richard Smith