THOUGHTS

Leather Chemicals Industry: On the Path of Sustainable Development

Jun 19, 2017

With sustainability being the new ‘trend’ in industries across various business verticals, it is only natural for the leather chemicals industry to look for ways in which it can go eco-friendly. The extensive growth of this industry is mainly due to increasing demand from the automotive sector followed by the footwear industry. Perhaps this is why it becomes even more important for players in the leather chemicals industry to align their growth goals with sustainability.

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Leather chemicals and environmental issues

The rawhide undergoes several chemical processes to turn into a durable product. Tanning and dyeing chemicals, along with beam-house and finishing chemicals add resilience to leather products. However, these very chemicals also play a vital role in increasing the overall carbon footprint – which is why major companies in the leather chemicals industry are looking for environmental-friendly substitutes.

Leather chemicals and sustainability: On the path of the green leather making process

Prominent names in the industry like LANXESS, BASF, and Stahl Holdings are working towards attaining a future-oriented leather production system. Sustainability is the crux of every future growth plan. Keeping this fact in mind, manufacturers are adopting eco-friendly substitutes for hazardous chemicals without compromising on the quality of their products.

For instance, the German chemicals giant BASF found in one of its R&D projects that beam-house processes produce less carbon footprint as compared to the re-tannage process. Similarly, powder products can be substituted by liquid products to bring down the negative impact on the environment.

Another vendor LANXESS has begun the Sustainable Leather Management initiative to systematically address the challenges in the entire value chain of the leather chemicals industry. The use of biopolymers as re-tanning agents, adoption of organic wet white technique, and water-based pigments to enhance the finishing of the leather goods are some of the sustainable practices being undertaken by the company.

Infiniti’s take

Switching to sustainable production processes has become a necessity for every business. Being one of the highest contributors to GHGs, major manufacturers of leather chemicals are proactively looking for planet-friendly technologies to enhance their products. Tools to measure carbon footprint along with certifications from government agencies will encourage higher adoption of green solutions in the leather chemicals industry. ECO2L is one such tool that determines the corporate carbon footprint of a tannery.

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