Italian Footwear Industry Plans to Innovate for a Sustainable Future

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Italian Footwear Industry Plans to Innovate for a Sustainable Future

12/06/2017
Dr. Rüdiger Fox, CEO of Sympatex, and Dr. Giorgio De Gara, owner and managing director of PIDIGI, together revealed the global challenges and new technologies that will also compel the footwear industry to reinvent itself.

Sympatex Technologies and PIDIGI S.p.A. gathered the Italian sports shoe industry at the museo dello scarpone e della calzatura sportive (Ital. shoe museum) in Montebelluna in North Italy on Nov. 30. As part of this event, Dr. Rüdiger Fox, CEO of Sympatex, and Dr. Giorgio De Gara, owner and managing director of PIDIGI, together revealed the global challenges and new technologies that will also compel the footwear industry to reinvent itself.

During his opening speech, Fox addressed the evolving role of the topic of sustainability as perceived by the general public, including growing prominent reports on plastics in the oceans and waterways, scarcity of clean drinking water and a superabundance of waste. “I would like to emphasize that I don’t want to make any moral assessment. We as a company are also part of the industry and leave a footprint. However, we should become aware of the brewing thunderstorm which can and will force our industry — and others as well — to profound changes due the scope of the topic. The only question is when it will move in," said Fox.

According to Fox, a clear sign for a fundamental change was also that the shoe and textile industry hasn’t only been the focus of attention of  NGOs such as Greenpeace or WWF. This year‘s comprehensive report with the title “Pulse of the Fashion Industry“ published by Boston Consulting Group, gave the apparel and footwear industry a clear warning: if the industry didn’t assume its ecological and social responsibility in a timely manner, this would lead to widespread economic disadvantages threatening our existence in the next 10 years.

“Pidigi will celebrate its 65 years of activity in 2018; the secret of such business longevity? Looking ahead and understand where the business and customers' needs are going to. Today our company wants to face a new important challenge: eco sustainability of our products, industrial processes and business model," explained De Gara.

“We don’t only believe that we have to assume responsibility for the consequences of our actions, but we also believe that this will be the key for future success. One part of our agenda 2020 is the 100 percent climate-neutral, PFC-free and PTFE-free Sympatex membrane as well as the first integral laminate clustering by purely ecological aspects allowing the customer to make reasonable purchase decisions. We invite you to jointly bring the next framework conditions of the shoe industry to live,“ concluded Fox.