Modern Slavery, Traceability, and Responsible Chemical Management: Highlights of the 2017 Leather & Sustainability in Retail Conference

Modern Slavery, Traceability, and Responsible Chemical Management: Highlights of the 2017 Leather & Sustainability in Retail Conference

Modern slavery, traceability and responsible chemical management in the leather supply chain were all prominent themes at this year’s Leather & Sustainability in Retail Conference held in London on 16th November 2017.

The half-day conference was sponsored by Stahl, Smit & zoon and TFL, supported by Lonza and jointly organised by BLC Leather Technology Centre Ltd (BLC) and International Leather Maker (ILM).

Victoria Addy from BLC Leather Technology Centre Ltd. opened the event, welcoming around 100 delegates from across the UK and Europe, and from around the world.

Modern slavery was a critical topic for the first half of the conference schedule with two presentations delivered on the subject. The first presentation emphasised the importance of transparency in the supply chain for high street retailer NEXT PLC and was delivered by Chris Grayer. Michelle Linderman from London-based legal firm Crowell & Moring delivered the second presentation which explored key elements of the Modern Slavery Act – an act that affects all business (including international businesses) with operations based in the UK.

The third presentation of the day was given by Simon Hall of the NGO, the National Wildlife Federation (NWF). This presentation uncovered the driving forces behind the impact of deforestation over a certain size on the Amazon Rainforest and what brands and retailers can do to minimise risks from this activity to their supply chains through increased traceability.

Pim Wilgenburg of Smit & zoon presented the final topic of the first half of the conference, which provided delegates with an insight into how Smit & zoon’s Product Passport can support brands, retailers and manufacturers to better manage restricted substances in their supply chains.

The second half of the conference began with a case study which delved into the potential solutions for effluent management in the Kanpur region of India. This informative case study was delivered by Michael Costello of Stahl, who showcased how Stahl are working with tanneries and local authorities in Kanpur to minimise pollutants.

Frank Michel from the ZDHC Foundation inspired the delegates with his presentation on implementing ZDHC objectives in their organisations, so harmful substances can be removed from consumer goods supply chains through control of manufactured restricted substance list (MRSL).

The final presentation of the day was on BLC Chem-MAP Certification Programme and manufacturing assessment, a new innovative MRSL which was exclusively launched at this conference by Peter Gregory of consulting firm Vert-Tex. The ZDHC approved programme is designed to support chemical suppliers through conformance to ZDHC levels 1 and 3.

Topical conversation ensued in the final session of the day which was framed by a presentation by Dr. Jürgen Christner of TFL consisted of an open panel discussion titled Sustainability: The Big Picture.  Members of the expert panel included Dr. Jürgen Christner of TFL, Hugues Pichon of LVMH, Tara Luckman of ASOS and Michelle Linderman of Crowell & Moring. The panel answered delegate questions and encouraged discussion in some of the leather industry’s most current and sensitive areas including modern slavery, traceability in supply chains, responsible chemical management and consumer expectations.
 

Lead Sponsors

         

 

Supporting Sponsor

 

A selection of photos from the conference

          

          

    

        

21 November 2017

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