Rafael Andrade, International Strategy, Design, and Planning Consultant for CICB, DNP and CSCB, tells us how things are evolving and the future vision for the world of Brazilian leather.
In recent years, we’ve followed the international partnerships established by Brazilian leathers in the fields of design and sustainability. What do agreements of this nature seek to achieve?
“Since 2012 and under the management of the current executive-president of the Centre for the Brazilian Tanning Industry (CICB), Mr. José Fernando Bello, Brazil›s leather sector has continued to look for new ways to improve its processes. Design and sustainability are two of the pillars of the CICB›s strategy with its tanneries. We believe that collaborative actions are extremely beneficial and essential in the current global panorama – a world that is constantly reinventing itself – to generate a positive impact in all spheres of action: from the tanneries to the communities they are inserted, up to their international endeavours. Through international partnerships we create opportunities to capitalize on new business developments and to position Brazilian leather in markets that are valuable to us. That said, we also seek to create a stronger and innovative supply chain focused on design and sustainability”.
What partnerships have already been formed?
“It’s important to highlight that international partnerships are the result of the industry’s heavy investment in improving its processes and complying with international sustainability requirements, with the key support of the Brazilian Trade and Investment Promotion Agency (Apex-Brasil). Within this specific field, in March 2018 (after one year period of negotiations and due diligence), Brazil signed an agreement with Italy for cooperation and mutual recognition of their national sustainability certifications for the leather industry. This agreement is supported by their respective national associations: CICB and the Italian Tanners Association (UNIC). The agreement between the Institute of Quality Certification for the Italian Leather Sector (ICEC) and the Brazilian Leather Certification of Sustainability (CSCB), aims to address the foundations and concerns of sustainability issues from a broader perspective, to promote better practices and to strengthen our certifications internationally”.
And what about the partnerships in the design field?
“In the design field, CICB has been promoting the Design na Pele (DNP) project for five years now. Since its first edition in 2013, DNP has the intention to bring together art, leather, and fashion, converging analogous yet sometimes distant industries into products that would later become true objects of desire around the world, through a series of highly curated exhibitions in various trade fairs and events”.
What can we expect in the near future?
“The next edition of DNP is finalizing an unprecedented partnership with a major Italian factory and leather furniture retailer, bringing our creations to the whole world. This collection will be launched in January 2019. The names of the designers, tanneries and the Italian partner will be revealed later this year”.
How have the proposed initiatives been received by Brazilian tanneries?
“The partnerships increase awareness for our tanneries. From the design thinking processes that each detail and each partnership involves up to a 360 degree vision of sustainability. This new approach to leather products is seen quite positively by the tanneries. It is the validation of a proactive, innovative, and responsible sector committed to concrete transformative actions around the world, with direct benefits for all”.
Design and sustainability have been constant focuses in the work developed by Brazil’s leathers. Are there any other fronts on which the industry has plans to act?
“We are currently developing national partnerships with Brazilian livestock sectors for improving leather quality, animal welfare and traceability. Also with international NGOs such as the National Wildlife Federation (NWF) in Washington DC and The Nature Conservancy (TNC), among others. Through collaborations involving the scientific community, universities, international companies and foundations, the Leather (being an important by-product of the beef industry in the world) has gained prominence within the scope of the work developed by NGO›s. NWF in particular leads a collaborative effort with CICB in order to address key issues related to ensuring a sustainable future for the tannery industry. These projects are currently being mapped out on specific points of contact, performance guidelines and transformational improvements goals”.