CEO's Profile

Meet Mark Oaten

Mark Oaten, International Fur Federation

Mark Oaten is CEO of the International Fur Federation. Oaten joined the IFF in 2011 with a remit to represent national fur trade associations and organisations from across 40 countries.

Prior to this he was a Member of Parliament in the UK for 13 years and served for 4 years as the UK member of the Council of Europe. During his time in Parliament he was Liberal Democrat Party Chairman and the Shadow Home Secretary. He served on a number of boards including the British Healthcare Trade Association, Alcohol Concern, Mental Health Matters, the prison Charity Unlock, the Council for Administration and a Director of the Charity Finance Directors Group. Prior to his time at Westminster he was Managing Director of one of the UK top lobby consultancy firms.

He lectured at Wroxton College in Oxford and was a regular broadcaster for Sky and BBC TV.

Following his retirement from active politics, Oaten published two books, one on the history of coalition governments Coalition and the other a memoir entitled Screwing Up: How One MP Survived Politics, Scandal and Turning 40.

Mark's Blog

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Does Gucci really want to choke the world with plastic fur?

By International Fur Federation CEO, Mark Oaten Fashion brand Gucci has announced plans to go fur-free from 2018 and will instead be looking into alternatives, including fake plastic fur. Now, I’m the last person to prevent a business or individual from making up their own mind about fur and employing freedom of choice (a stance sadly not shared by the bullies and closed-minded activists of PETA and the like), but I find this move rather mystifying because of the main argument used. Specifically, chief executive Marco Bizzarri said the move was due to the brand’s commitment to ‘sustainability’. I of course applaud such a viewpoint. But in this case, unfortunately, it’s utterly misguided. The truth is that banning real fur makes absolutely no sense in terms of sustainability. Petrol-based fake plastic fur is extremely harmful to the environment, isn't biodegradable and negatively impacts wildlife thanks to the petroleum and plastics used to produce it. By comparison, real fur can last for generations compared to the synthetic, environmentally-damaging alternatives. Fur garments can be kept for decades and are completely biodegradable when they are eventually discarded. Plastic fakes on the other hand are thrown away regularly and end up polluting landfills. That’s...


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