Hans’ perspective: Reflecting on 2021 and a look into the future

A view on the leather industry by Hans van Haarst, CEO Smit & Zoon Group

Royal Smit & Zoon`s Mission

The Strategy of Royal Smit & Zoon is to create a socially and environmentally sustainable leather value chain, together. A core element of this strategy is our patented innovation Zeology, a heavy-metal and aldehyde-free tanning technology which we introduced under our Nera brand into the market in late 2021.

Recently Anya Hindmarch introduced a new handbag line under the “Back to Nature” label and Puma their iconic suede sneaker – RE:SUEDE – using Zeology tanning technology and circularity as a key point of differentiation. A large number of other OEM’s and brands are on their way to commercializing consumer products using Zeology at the core.

Standing up to our values

Zeology, among others, is patented, ZDHC Level 3 certified and carries a platinum Cradle2Cradle Material Health Certificate. An LCA for several articles based on this technology is under development and available early next year. The uniqueness of the proposition goes beyond the product itself and is unmatched in comparison with ordinary zeolite-based products.

We will continue to work on Zeology with vigor, true to our strategy and respecting the values of our 200 years, family-owned business. For us compliance with (competition) laws, regulations, business ethics is very important in this respect.

A lookback on 2021 and a look into the future

2021 was a turbulent year with raw material price increases and cost and availability of logistics requiring our continuous attention. However, most importantly we will need to continue to explain to end-consumers, OEM, and brands the uniqueness of leather, as a by-product of the food industry and a circular material. This is in defense of our markets and industry against alternative man-made materials.

It is the time of the year for New Year resolutions and wishes. Mine and ours are to open the eyes of the end consumer together with the brands on what a wonderful material leather is and realize many more successes in addition to those of Anya Hindmarch and Puma in 2022.

I wish you a wonderful Holiday Season and health, happiness, and prosperity in the New Year.

Hans van Haarst
CEO Royal Smit & Zoon

The leather industry


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