The role of IULTCS must continue to growInterview with Thomas C. J. Yu, new-elected President of CHEMISTS’ UNION
As announced a few months ago, from 1 January 2018, the Taiwanese-born Thomas C.J. Yu is the new president of the International Union of Leather Technicians and Chemist’s Associations (IULTCS), taking over from Dietrich Tegtmeyer. Mr Yu will remain in office for the next two years, flanked by Luis Zugno as Vice-president.
In his appointment statement and in this interview, the new President of the world organisation of Leather Technicians and Chemists pointed out that the leather industry is now under severe pressure from environmentalists and under continuous attack based on misleading information.
The IULTCS plays a very important role in counteracting this trend
because it can provide reliable information and data, actively promoting innovative technologies.
First of all congratulations for your election as president of IULTCS. As not everyone in the industry might be familiar with your person, could you just quickly introduce yourself to our readers?
“I started my career in the leather industry in 1997 and I worked as technical service at Jollity Enterprise, a leather chemicals provider first, changed to R&D later within the company. I became General Manager in 2007 and we are actually going to celebrate our 50th years of the company in 2018.
The more I got into leather industry the more fascinating things I discovered.
In 2008 I joined TILA and became actively involved in all activities. I became vice secretary general in TILA in 2010, secretary general in 2012 and my current position in TILA is senior consultant”.
Looking ahead, what are your goals for your term in office?
“It is an honor and great responsibility to be elected 35th President. As we look back to the achievements of those past presidents, to name only three: Patrizia Casey, Bi Shi and Dietrich Tegtmeyer, I can only hope I can follow their steps and walk together with all the IULTCS members to accomplish the tasks that lay ahead of IULTCS. My mind is full of passion and ambivalence at the same time. However, I always believe that we can influence and change people through participation and interaction.
I will keep doing so and wish to bring IULTCS to be more actively involved and more influential in the leather industry. The goals of IULTCS have never changed since the date the Union was founded.
I reckon I will just follow this path with all my enthusiasm, energy and knowledge. We have to focus on the following goals:
Connection: In times of globalization and division of labor throughout the world, we need to connect and integrate more national leather science and technology organizations. Additionally, we also need to connect to up- and downstream organizations related to the leather industry that need scientific support or can give support to the leather industry.
Communication: With information available fast and on a global scale (may it be right or wrong) the common consumer becomes a prosumer who is taking influence on the process of manufacturing, product design and quality.
This is why we should take an active role as advisors to discuss scientific information with consumers in order to build trust and transparency.
Contribution: As a major international leather science organization, we should continue to support or sponsor programs such as YLSC (Young Leather Scientist Grant), UNIDO e-learning, ISO testing method improvement and development.
Collaboration: To the benefit of our industry as a whole we need a closer collaboration and sharing with the Global South rather than being patronizing.
Bad practices, environment scandals, animal suffering, bad working conditions, you name it, harm our industry as a whole.
Consumers especially in industrial nations became very sensitive to these issues no matter where these things happen and threaten to opt out leather altogether. We commonly have to take responsibility on a global scale”.
In your term of office falls the 2019 Congress in Dresden, Germany. What do you expect?
“I think we all agree that the IULTCS International Congress is an institution when it comes to leather science and technology. Being on the European continent gives us the chance to enlarge the circle of participants especially from downstream industries, major European car manufacturers, upholstery and shoe industry and global Europe based brands and retailer.
This would add a broader view to all groups of participants and provide for an extended dialogue. As for the setting of the Congress my German colleagues made an excellent choice. I think, everyone in the industry is looking forward to it and so do I. Though, our Indian and Brazilian colleagues raised the bar fairly high, I expect our host, VGCT, to organize an excellent event to the benefit of our industry”.
“We are on the right track”
Dietrich Tegtmeyer, former President of IULTCS
Dietrich Tegtmeyer passed the baton to Thomas Yu, but will remain a member of the executive committee of IULTCS as past-president.
Many results have been achieved during his presidency, including the great success of the last IULTCS congress held in Chennai in 2017.
We asked him to assess his presidency.
“I have a positive feeling when reviewing my term, and I am convinced we are on the right track. During my mandate we have continued the successful path forward in encouraging the young people to innovate our business, to encourage them to exchange and publish results, to set the right scientific frame work in setting new testing standards and responding to industry challenges”.
What have been the major achievements?
“The most important event during everyone’s term is the International Congress; early in 2017 our Indian colleagues organised a fantastic event that was a big success. We further developed our fruitful interaction within the Global Leather Coordination Committee, where IULTCS has the role to support all efforts from the scientific point of view. I think this forum increasingly acts as an efficient platform and voice for our industry. We have organised several responses to unfair attacks against leather and incorrect labelling issues; we have jointly positioned ourselves to answer important questions such as those related to animal welfare (see ICT homepage), and have proactively supported industry efforts to deal with the permanent moving target of restricted substances and the ongoing chromium debate. Even internally, we have undertaken a tremendous amount of good work and I want to thank all the Chairs of IULTCS Commissions for the great achievements”.