Sustainability and digitalization as indispensable factors for the global footwear industry, today and for the future, for a production-management point of view as well for the relationship with one’s customers. Digitalization represents an opportunity, as well as a threat. These are the most important topics that will be discussed and developed between April 3rd and 5th during the sixth edition of World Footwear Congress, event “dedicated to the industries and manufacturers of footwear from all around the world”, which will take place at Teatrino di Corte inside Palazzo Reale, in Naples. The event is presented to us by Cleto Sagripanti (in picture), incumbent president of CEC, European Confederation of the Footwear Industry: “Digitalization is revolutionizing the market, not just with regards to online retail and product customization, but also with regards to communication”, starts Sagripanti, who warns: “If all of this represents an opportunity for larger and luxury businesses that are well known, it can also be a threat for smaller brands. I believe that this threat should be transformed into an opportunity by these smaller companies, because they would otherwise be cut out. In order to do so, one must understand digitalization”, states Mr. Sagripanti, adding that “initially the topic being discussed was of democratic digitalization, because with one post one could reach anyone, but now that one post that reaches millions of consumers can cost hundreds of thousands of euro. Another primary aspect to be considered is that of the challenges in finding competent human resources in this field. The Congress wants to further explore digitalization as well as sustainability and, with regards to the latter, the chain of the leather industry is of paramount importance”, states the Marche-born entrepreneur who highlights how the fashion industry has the possibility of doing a lot of communication the topic of sustainability, as it is already doing to a degree. “We want to focus the congress on the importance of fair industry practices that respect all rules and the environment and are shared across the whole chain. The industry is moving toward traceability and transparency of all businesses”, concludes CEC’s president. The event in Naples includes visits to two visits to companies that exemplify production excellency such as Kiton and Mario Valentino, as well as a guided tour to Pozzuoli for SSIP’s new site (Experimental Station for the Industry of the skins and tanning materials (SSIP).