Since 2012, the Global Footwear Sustainability Summit has been providing footwear professionals with information and in-depth studies on the key principles of sustainability. From this issue onwards, we will collaborate with the organisers to give even more voice to the initiative and develop a deep reflection on the complexity of the problem.

How do you think the footwear industry interprets the issue of sustainability?
Sustainability is often seen as an additional cost and many companies fail to identify the financial benefits of adopting a robust sustainability programme. But over the years, the global footwear industry has seen an ever-increasing focus on sustainability. Many brands and retailers consider it one of the most critical areas for their business. Today, there are many case studies that demonstrate how product and process optimisations have been directly driven by the introduction of a sustainability programme. By looking to minimise the use of all types of resources such as energy, water, chemicals and raw materials, it is possible to obtain a concomitant reduction in processing and production costs. It is important for us to convey this type of message.

What are the most important themes for the next GFSS 2020 (23-24 November 2020 – Shanghai)?
With the theme “Transformation and Revolution”, the summit examines the opportunities and challenges that the global footwear industry, production and distribution, must face in the current, unpredictable socio-economic environment. It will also share practical cases and concrete experiences of sustainable development applied to solve real problems, including technological and material innovation, safety of production workers, and environmental protection, so as to help promote an innovative and tangible application of sustainability principles. Moreover, the summit aims to build a closed loop of sustainability through the upstream and downstream supply chain. In particular, we invite well-known experts and leaders in the retail sector to share and discuss key issues related to a super-intelligent supply chain, the revolution of retail trade, digitalisation of the supply and demand chain, and how to reshape the business model.

Why has the issue of sustainability become so crucial?
Even before the outbreak of the pandemic, a market situation had arisen where the wide range of products on offer made competition complex and very fierce. When a brand had to select a supplier, with the same guaranteed product quality, it chose the one that offered the best level of sustainability.
At that point not only the brands (pressured by end buyers), but also the supply chain realised that sustainability was becoming a necessary requirement for survival, and that it added to the competitiveness of the price.
So today, information about the complex world of sustainability is crucial not only for brands, but for factories too.

After the pandemic, what do you think will be the most pressing issues in the field of sustainability?
Social Responsibility is a very important issue right now, which is embodied particularly in the need for all levels, upstream and downstream of the footwear supply chain, to realise the crucial importance of fulfilling financial commitments and meeting payments. In such a challenging moment, many companies are in difficulty due to the lack of orders, if we add to this the insolvency of productions already processed, then there is a risk of penalising and putting the workers in serious, dramatic difficulties, first of all.
Realising this situation means moving from words to actions and actually applying the principle of Social Responsibility capable of making a company truly sustainable.

Global Footwear Sustainability Summit
23-24 November 2020 – Shanghai

Organised by Copex Global since 2012, each year the GFSS attracts hundreds of footwear decision-makers from all over the world to Shanghai (China): players from developing and emerging markets, including leading brands, retailers, manufacturers and buyers, as well as government officials, business associations, NGOs and environmental institutions. Its goal is to provide professionals with key information on the latest and most interesting technologies, tools and experiences that can help all participants to better organise and implement their sustainability projects.

For further information:
Sam An
T. +86 21 3212-3849
+86 159 2117 8576