Corporate Social Responsibility 2019
Corporate Social Responsibility Highlights of 2019
We proudly present you the ‘drops’ that we delivered in 2019 towards a circular economy.
We have shown for years already that a company-wide focus on sustainability can coincide with operational excellence and outstanding service. Receiving the highest conformance level 3 of Chem-MAP certification in Zero Discharge of Hazardous Chemicals for all our Smit branded wet-end products produced in the Netherlands, is proof of that and filling us with great pride. Certification of the rest of our global portfolio, consisting of both Smit and Codyeco branded products, is scheduled for 2020. With this accreditation, Smit & Zoon is recognized as one of the leading companies towards a more sustainable value chain.
Innovative tanning method
Traditionally the main tanning methods are based on chrome, vegetable tannins and chrome free alternatives. Through close cooperation with leading leather manufacturers and brands, Zeolite offers the leather industry an alternative to all hazardous substances. It’s a huge new step in creating a sustainable leather supply chain. Zeolite has superior performance, consistent quality and reliability, value-based pricing and is unparalleled in sustainability.
New Biobased range
An increase in the re-use of biomass side-streams and clear reductions in hazardous substances: that’s the effect of our Life Biopol biopolymer-based leather chemicals. According to results from Life Cycle Assessments (LCA), the overall Product Environmental Footprint of the new biopolymers can be up to 77% lower than that of the retanning chemicals leather manufacturers have used until now.
As an important group of retanning chemicals, phenolic syntans have traditionally been 100% petro-based. Our Research and Development departments are always on the look-out for alternatives and found one ingredient in plants. As a by-product of the pulp and paper industry, lignin is usually burned to generate energy. Smit & Zoon now has a worldwide patent application for using industrial lignin together with phenol in the production of polyphenolic retanning chemicals. This project is still in the research phase. Smit & Zoon have proven that lignin-based products work well in leather production, bringing fullness and softness to finished leather and intense colour after dyeing.
As part of our quest for a sustainable industry, we have looked for ways to replace the petro-based and non-biodegradable polymers we produce for the wet-end production process, and with success. Thanks to joint research with Wageningen University and Research, and beet pulp processor Cosun, we found out that pectins from sugar beet pulp are suitable as bio-based ingredients in the production of leather. This projectis still in the research phase. Not only are we making our industry more sustainable, but these pectins can also influence the characteristics of finished leather - for example by improving its colour intensity.
Rewarded silver in the Ecovadis Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) rating - which we achieved in 2019 - is a big proof of our company’s high performances in sustainability-related activities. With a score of 62 points, higher than 90% of all of the EcoVadis assessed companies, we have once again proven to belong to the absolute top of the field in durability. We see it as the result of our relentless drive to make the leather value chain sustainable and responsible. The Ecovadis Silver Award is a confirmation of the value of our strategy.
A drop makes
At Smit & Zoon, we take pride in every single one of our solutions; not only because they offer the leather industry the best fundament for quality leathers, but also because of the relentless quest for sustainability that’s at the heart of everything we do.
To show you what we mean by that - proving our dedication in building a circular economy - we selected six examples that made a difference in 2019. They tell the story of our efforts around working with biobased materials, towards a circular economy, diminishing unnecessary waste and being serious about our corporate social responsibility.
In order to minimize our footprint, our 2019 CSR report will not be published in print. Our complete CSR Report can be downloaded below.