Smit & Zoon achieves highest level of ZDHC-certification

All Smit branded wet-end products produced in the Netherlands earned level 3 certification; the rest of Smit’s global portfolio, consisting of both Smit and Codyeco branded products, is scheduled to receive this level later in 2020. “Certification is the result of our relentless drive and ongoing mission to make the leather value chain sustainable”, Smit Group CEO Hans van Haarst explains.

“We are the preferred partner for our customers in the international markets for wet-end and finishing. To be named one of the leading companies towards a more sustainable supply chain by a respected organisation like ZDHC is a great reward for our effort. We achieved this through a company-wide focus on sustainability, operational excellence and outstanding service.”Van Haarst calls upon the whole industry to follow the example of Smit & Zoon. “It is now up to the brands to continue to push sustainability and to ensure that consumers get leather products from trusted sources.”

A more sustainable operation

ZDHC is an organisation initiated in 2011 by six fashion brands aiming for a more sustainable operation. Currently, ZDHC has grown to 30 signatory brands, 111 value chain affiliates (including suppliers of chemicals) and 21 associates. Smit & Zoon has been a contributor since early 2018.

A dedicated team from Chem-MAP assisted Smit & Zoon in fulfilling the c-MAP program for chemical formulators. “We are proud to be collaborating with Smit & Zoon”, a Chem-MAP spokesman adds. “Reaching the highest level of ZDHC certification for their Netherlands based sites in 2019 and working together on attaining Level 3 ZDHC certification globally for the company in 2020 is a big achievement.”

The Manufacturing Restricted Substances List (MRSL) used in the Chem-MAP certification sets restrictions to the chemicals that can be used in the production process of leather articles. This is a much wider scope than a regular Restricted Substances List, which only defines restrictions for the finished article.

Responsible chemical management

The aim of the ZDHC certification process is to help companies working with the footwear, apparel and accessories industry to exhibit their commitment to responsible chemical management, working towards the ultimate goal of zero discharge of hazardous chemicals. According to Chem-MAP, “conformance to the limits of ZDHC Manufacturing Restricted Substances List (MRSL) demonstrates improved upstream chemical management and reduction of the industry’s chemical footprint.”

Chem-MAP says that achieving Level 3 certification has reinforced Smit & Zoon’s market position as an industry leader in sustainability “and has helped secure its company-wide focus on sustainability, operational excellence and outstanding service.”


For Hans van Haarst, this all fits perfectly into the legacy of the almost 200-year-old company. “Smit & Zoon has demonstrated to be resilient and able to adapt to change. The current turmoil in the global leather industry will require strong leadership to guide its players to a secure future. Smit & Zoon commits itself to this change through transformational presence at all levels in the value chain and with all stakeholders. This includes consumers, brands, customers and industry associations and partnerships.”

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