After an initial three-year mandate, Frank Boehly was re-elected in December 2017 as head of the National Leather Council (NLC), which brings together 20 federations of the French leather industry, from production to distribution, through processing and manufacturing. In addition to his duties at the NLC, Frank Boelhy is also Vice-President of CTC and of the Alliance du Commerce (Union du Grand Commerce de Centre-Ville, Fédération des Enseignes de l’Habillement and Fédération des Enseignes de Chaussure). In May 2020, Frank Boehly was also elected president of the specialized incubator Beyond Leather (ADC), which he co-founded in 2012. This versatile elected representative and fervent defender of the sector explains the challenges facing leather companies in a time when luxury is becoming more respectful, more sustainable, and more ethical towards the environment.
The French leather industry has been committed for many years, and now more than ever before, to a “green” leather, more responsible and sustainable. Has the global health crisis we are going through played a role in reinforcing these priorities?
First of all, I would like to point out that the leather industry is above all a recycling industry because it involves transforming the skins of animals for slaughter – which is a waste from the food sector – into a new raw material. Leather is therefore by definition a recycled raw material.
But the health crisis has indeed helped to highlight essential issues such as environmental protection, resettlement, securing value chains, economic sovereignty, preservation of know-how, etc. The issue of social responsibility is therefore naturally at the heart of our concerns.
And today more than ever, it is our duty to ask ourselves what actions to implement for the post-pandemic world, taking into account the repercussions that the crisis will have on consumer behavior.
That said, the French leather industry has already been involved for decades in social and environmental responsibility and is sensitive to the notion of short circuit and waste recycling by its very essence.
Very important investments have been achieve, particularly by tanners and dressers, to implement European regulations whose norms are among the most restrictive in the world.
The leather industry has thus been working for several years to recycle industrial waste and many projects are in the process of being culmination, such as the thermal recovery of leather waste or the production of new materials from leather waste.
Our industry therefore continues to be more committed than ever today, respectful of standards and protective of consumers. It is probably even one of the most advanced in these subjects.
What are the other priorities for the leather sector? How do you continue to emerges new ethical responses in this post-crisis period?
In addition to recycling, two other themes highlighted in the CNC’s CSR White Paper – namely animal welfare and traceability – are priorities for the sector.
Animal welfare in the first place because, contrary to what may have been said, the French leather industry has also been involved for many years.
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Featured Photo : Frank Boehly © Patrick Alves
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