This year's ISC Industry Forum " Expertise Shoe - the industry in dialogue" was held under the motto "Sustainability - Responsible into the future" and took place on 7 and 8 November in Pirmasens. "What used to be a free program is now mandatory. Sustainability is an issue that concerns us all. It must be anchored in people's minds. Beyond our industry. At least twice as many participants would have to sit here. But you are setting a good example," appealed PFI Chairman Michael Tackenberg to the 55 participants in the industry forum, which is being organised in cooperation with the German Footwear and Leather Goods Industry Association (HDS/L).
Opportunity and challenge. Demand and reality. The multifaceted topic of sustainability requires simultaneous consideration of economic, ecological and social aspects.
It all started on the eve of the ISC Forum Oberkirchenrätin Dr. Ruth Gütter. Under the heading "Borrowed is the star on which we live. Agenda 2030 as a Challenge for the Churches" was Gütter's response to the challenges facing society, politics and business from a Protestant-Christian perspective in accordance with the United Nations Agenda 2030 action plan. Not only with regard to climate change the church representative warned: "The survival of mankind and also the continued existence of nature as we know it today are in danger if we continue like this".
But how can economic growth and sustainability be reconciled? Top-class speakers, including Dr. Christoph Brussels, Chairman of the German Senate for Economic Affairs, and Dr. Walter Döring, Deputy Prime Minister and former Minister of Economic Affairs of the State of Baden-Württemberg, tried to answer this question. Using best-practice examples of so-called "hidden champions", the experts showed how successful companies integrate sustainability, environment and CSR into their business activities. CSR should not be seen as a constraint, but as an opportunity and a goal for each individual.
Sustainability - fashionable topic or megatrend? Thomas Rasch from the German Fashion Association pursued this question. Many aspects for the shoe and leather industry can be derived from negative events, but above all from the positive developments and decisions in the textile industry. Unfortunately, the topic of sustainability has not yet been so internalised by consumers that more money is being spent on corresponding products.
Sarah Obser of PFI Hong Kong is convinced that 80% of design decisions can be made about how sustainable a shoe will be. For Obser, innovative materials, recycling and greater transparency in global supply chains are the criteria of the future.
Prof. Dr. Carsten Kortum from the Heilbronn Cooperative State University pleaded for better and more efficient cooperation with the manufacturers. He reported on the typification of shoe producers in China and demanded less bureaucracy and more, especially personal communication with the manufacturers.
CSR expert Arved Lüth used numerous examples to show that supposed mistakes can also open up opportunities and sometimes even lead to innovative products. "But where there is danger, what is saved also grows," is his credo.
The forum ended with an exciting practical contribution: Jörg Ertl from children's shoe manufacturer Ricosta explained how sustainability can be successfully integrated into everyday corporate life and how hurdles can be overcome.
The industry agrees that one of the greatest challenges of our time is the shortage of skilled workers and the increased demands placed on a company's employees. Reason enough to dedicate the next ISC Forum to this explosive topic. On 24 and 25 September 2019, the industry will meet again in Pirmasens for the industry forum "Professional Competence Shoes - The Industry in Dialogue. The motto is: "HUMAN CHALLENGE - CHALLENGES TO THE EMPLOYEES OF THE FUTURE".