COP28 & Trade Fairs: Sam Setter's 'Pills' - For readers who need some wry medicinal humour
On 30 November in Dubai the UN will hold for almost 2 weeks the next Conference Of Parties, better known as COP 28, to discuss global warming and climate change. I wonder how many private planes with a handful of passengers will land in Dubai, like the Secretary General of the UN, like Ursula von der Leyen, and all those heads of states or their representatives, few of whom will fly commercial or if they do, they will fly either business or first class. Hence the COP 28 conference, like all its preceding and similar events, are contributing, in just 12 days, more to climate change than the leather industry in a year. Sumptuous meals will be served, including red meat produced by the poor cows ‘that are killed for their hides’ and that are ‘the main producers of CO² released into the air’, without mentioning that they also provide for the necessary natural fertiliser. These ‘important people’ preach well, but act totally selfishly, consuming their unbelievable privileges for which we pay with our tax money.
Since many are used to me criticising situations in the leather industry, I want this time to disappoint you all and write something different. Last October APLF organised the APLF ASIA fair in Bangkok and regretfully the fair did not produce the results that I and many others had expected or at least hoped for. The number of exhibitors and visitors was drastically less than last year’s event. What stood out was the absence of exhibitors and visitors outside the region, hence the fair was reduced to a simple local affair, which was definitely not the intention of the organisers. What happened here was practically a repeat of the APLF Dubai fair that was celebrated earlier this year. Although I agree that too many fairs are not what the industry needs, on the other hand I think that a professionally organised fair in regions where there is no such an event would be very important for the exposure of the regional industries towards the world trade. Bangkok is disputable because there are the Hong Kong and Shanghai fairs, but Dubai seemed the answer to a prayer for the African leather industry and a meeting point between Asia, Europe, and Africa. Instead, participation from Africa was minimal and limited to free-of-charge stand space, rather than enterprises actively pushing their products. Apparently, things are changing in the leather industry and fair organisers need to think about new ways to attract participation, or the whole concept of leather fairs needs to be overhauled.