Manfred Junkert: consumers are changing their habits

Today we bring the second part of a conversation with Manfred Junkert, Managing Director of HDS/L: Federal Association of the German Footwear and Leather Goods Industry. We took this opportunity to hear his views on sustainability and the future challenges of the footwear industry


It is not a trend. It is a very important topic and in future it will be even more important. In our industry we are doing a lot of activities in this field, for more than 10 years. We are promoting sustainability for all our industry, and I think this work will be even more important in the future. It is not a trend, as I said. Every company must find answers on how to be as sustainable as possible. The problem with sustainability is that it is very wide range topic, and everybody understands something different, and nobody in the world can fulfil all aspects of sustainability at once. It is a long process, and every company will start being more sustainable on various fields and aspects.
Footwear is a complicated product, in terms of sustainability, as it has many materials in it and we have to find an answer for each single material to the questions: What is sustainable? Where is it coming from? How is it produced? Also, how is it being produced in social terms? What were the labour conditions and the CO2 footprint? And the emissions track?
As I said, step by step everybody must improve in these fields.
In our industry we have been cooperating for over ten years on these topics. We have a project called CADS which mean cooperation to avoid dangerous substances, but we have widened the range to also include social issues and all other environmental issues and all companies in this cooperation are pushing for better solutions in terms of sustainability.

Other Future Challenges

One other challenging question at the moment is related to logistics. Our industry is a worldwide operating industry with production all over the world and links and materials coming from everywhere. So, logistics is very important and the processes in the logistic chain were also affected by the pandemic crisis. Meaning that containers are not easy to get at the moment. They cost a lot of money and their capacities are smaller, and all of that needs some solutions to be at the same level as before.

The consumer will change as well. We’ve seen that during the COVID-19 crisis – and I’m convinced this will continue – people are changing their habits: they are more linked to mobiles and doing all their business regardless of their location. People are now working at home and being mobile, and this means they are shopping differently and wearing different shoes. And all of this has an effect in our industry.

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