BLC & APLF Hong Kong Leather Sustainability Conference Hailed ‘the Best so far’…

BLC & APLF Hong Kong Leather Sustainability Conference Hailed ‘the Best so far’…

The Sustainability in the Leather Supply Chain Conference was held at the APLF Leather & Materials+ Exhibition in Hong Kong on 15th March 2018. BLC Leather Technology Centre Ltd. (BLC) and APLF hosted this diverse leather supply chain event that highlighted forward thinking leather industry issues, such as circular economy, supply chain management and sustainable materials.

The event was sponsored by leading leather chemical companies, including Stahl, LANXESS and Smit & zoon, and the International Leather Maker (ILM) who was the media sponsor.

Over 100 delegates attended the half-day conference to gain valuable knowledge and insight from organisations across the leather supply chain, including chemical companies, leather manufacturers, suppliers, brands and retailers. Positive feedback was received all around, with one of the delegates commenting: “this conference is the best I have attended in the series so far…”


Session 1 Review – Sponsored by Stahl

Michael Costello, Director of Sustainability at Stahl, opened Session 1 with the insightful presentation: The Circular Economy: Opportunities for the Chemical Industry and Leather Supply Chain. Michael made the case for the use of circular economy for leather processing and chemical management in the supply chain.

Sarah Walton, Senior Director of Sustainable Materials at the global performance brand Nike, delivered a presentation on the rewards and challenges of progressing the materials sustainability agenda at Nike.

John Graebin, Senior Director of Materials for Deckers Outdoor Corporation provided the thought-provoking delivery: Building Consumer Trust Through Supply Chain Transparency. John spoke about the need for the brands and retailers to provide assurance to consumers in order to increase brand loyalty.

The final presentation of Session 1 was given by Dr. Victoria Addy, Technical Director at BLC Leather Technology Centre Ltd. on BLC’s new innovative MRSL verification programme, Chem-MAP.


Session 2 Review – Sponsored by LANXESS

Dr. Dietrich Tegtmeyer, Vice President at LANXESS, began Session 2 with the opening presentation: X-Biomer insitu® @ Tannery 4.0® - the future has just begun. Dietrich illustrated how the LANXESS X-Biomer insitu® and Tannery 4.0® concept provide greater leather manufacturing efficiencies and chemical sustainability through a cyclical process.

An international fashion retailer delivered a presentation which covered MRSL implementation for a brand across a global supply chain network.

The final delivery of Session 2 was from Daniele Bacchi, Environmental Department Manager at ITALPROGETTI. Daniele spoke about the challenges of effluent treatment and waste water management from leather manufacturing, leading to a more protected natural environment and water ways free from harmful chemicals.


Discussion Panel Review – Sponsored by Smit & zoon

Egbert Dikkers, Leader Innovation & Sustainability at Smit & zoon opened the discussion panel with a presentation featuring the Smit & zoon Product Passport, which promotes the safe use of chemicals within the leather industry.

Representatives from organisations across the leather value chain supported the discussion panel including, Smit & zoon, VF Asia Ltd., Nike, Deckers Outdoor Corporation, Prime Asia, and ITALPROGETTI. 

The panel generated debate within the room and covered a wide range of topics including: the debate between chromium vs other tanning types; financial pressures on the industry including additional costs of new environmental requirements and the lag between purchase and sale of material; transparency of supply of material; how leather compares to other materials and external pressure across the materials sector; and what consumers are asking for in their products.


BLC is Committed to Sustainability in the Leather Industry

BLC and APLF are delighted by the positive reaction to the event. Delegates also highlighted the increasing need for sustainability development through chemical and material innovation in the leather industry.

BLC is committed to endorsing sustainability in the leather supply chain and will be hosting the Leather & Sustainability in Retail Conference in October 2018 in London. If you are interested in attending this event, email

28 March 2018

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