Nachhaltigkeit-Illu

New technologies for a clean leather industry

When we talk about leather, words that come to mind are valuable, robust and durable, but also supple, soft, speedy, light and breezy – depending on the intended use. Leather consists of animal hide and is therefore particularly valuable. We refine this natural raw material with many centuries of experience combined with current scientific knowledge.

 

As a material for shoes, leather meets the most stringent requirements. However, the image of leather is also increasingly linked to the conditions of its manufacturing which is often associated with water burden, unpleasant odours, heavy physical work and poor working conditions in some countries. Consumers justifiably react to this with a particularly critical view. We are convinced that our industry and, with it, the material leather only has a future if its manufacture is really organised to be as environmentally compatible as possible.

 

This includes:

  • Exclusive use of animal hide from animals bred for meat or milk production
  • Responsible handling of this hide – respecting the creature
  • Avoidance or minimisation of dangerous substances during production and in the material
  • Generation of cycles which produce as little waste and wastewater as possible

 

The manufacture of leather is a complex process, consisting of several steps. This results in an opportunity to design the process in a more sustainable manner and more environmentally compatible at various points. A well-planned production process allows us to virtually cope without preservatives. Tanning incorporates the use of an extract gained from olive leaves. These olive leaves accrue when the trees have to be pruned. With chestnut wood essence, a further renewable raw material is also used for retanning. Our leathers are greased using fatliquors based on vegetable oils such as rapeseed and sunflower oil.

 

Together with our partners in the leather manufacturing and processing industry, we constantly work on being able to offer the best leather produced using environmentally friendly means.

Text: Steffen Kohl, Gerberei Ingenieur

Wednesday, 1. April 2015