The sustainability of leather
In itself, leather is a sustainable product by origin because it is a by-product from the meat industry. The leather industry is creating a unique material from a skin that would otherwise mostly end up as landfill. The leather industry is a highly regulated industry with responsible value chain partners manufacturing leather under tightly controlled auditing programs that are supportive to raise the standard of modern leather manufacturing. Fashion brands increasingly source leather from leather manufacturers audited according to these standards and increasingly demand them to use chemicals that are certified according to the ZDHC levels. The growing importance of these standards is crucial for the leather industry to ensure that brands, designers and consumers value leather as a sustainable and unique material. Smit & Zoon is a proud active supporter and collaborator with global standards in order to create a leather value chain that is as sustainable as possible.
UN Sustainable Development Goals
Our Ambition is to create a leather value chain that is 100% socially and environmentally sustainable. We have chosen four of the UN Sustainable Development Goals as our guideline in reaching this. With these four goals, we are certain to make the highest impact.
1) Clean Water & Sanitation (SDG 6)
The leather industry is consuming and emitting large amounts of water, that’s why we encourage leather manufacturers to improve water quality. This goal can be reached by reducing pollution, minimizing the release of hazardous chemicals, increasing water recycling, safe reuse of water and reduction of water consumption.
2) Decent work & economic growth (SDG 8)
Leather is produced globally, in countries with a wide variety of economic and societal circumstances. The leather industry has the potential to employ large amounts of people and thus increase prosperity for nations and all the people involved. We support this through the introduction of innovative technologies & processes that will provide decent work conditions and a good social environment. Training and education to work safely with chemicals is an important part of this development.
3) Responsible consumption & production (SDG 12)
Circularity is the principle that drives our Research & Development and our procurement practises. This helps us to create a product portfolio that is mainly built from renewable resources and will support creating a responsible end of life for leather. Our products are developed to have the least possible emissions to minimize the adverse impacts on human health and the environment.
4) Partnerships for the Goals (SDG 17)
We believe that positive impact can only be created through collaborations. This is why we support the leading leather industry organisations to speed the process of creating a 100% socially and environmentally sustainable leather value chain. We are open to collaborations in which we can share our knowledge, expertise, technology and financial resources.
Tannery of the Future
Tannery of the Future is a sustainability checklist for leather manufacturers. It was introduced in 2015, with Smit & Zoon being one of the founding partners, and was downloaded over 600 times by stakeholders from all over the leather industry who wanted to learn about sustainable leather manufacturing. In 2019, it merged with the Leather Working Group where it will be further developed into an educational self-assessment tool, designed to serve as the foundation to improve the environmental impact of the operations within the leather industry. Smit & Zoon is still involved in this.
Read more about Tannery of the Future by visit the website.
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