I think I speak for the whole world when I say that we are all concerned about damage to the environment. Not perhaps quite enough to worry about the greasy, dirty water we let out of the kitchen sink after the Sunday roast and where that goes, and we certainly don’t worry enough about what happens to our water bottles, but by and large we all do sincerely care. So being makers of leather boots it’s naturally important to us to know that the tannery that provides our leathers also cares sincerely.
And they do.
In a nutshell – because which of us wants a chemistry lesson? – they are members of the international Sustainable Leather Foundation which supports the global leather industry in its drive towards full environmental, social and economic responsibility.
The tannery’s pledge recognises, and commits to protecting future generations.
Their methods can be encapsulated thus:
1. All leathers made by the tannery comply with REACH protocols (EU) and California 65 (USA) protocols for acceptable chemical content levels.
2. They have substituted chemicals in their tanning process to reduce pollution levels and increase absorption into the hide.
3. They have replaced solvent chemicals in finishing with water based products to provide less emission and better conditions for employees.
4. All their waste water is pre-treated prior to discharge to EMA requirements.
5. They apply the best tanning process controls to reduce and prevent secondary chemical reactions and discharge, such as conversion of Chrome to toxic state of chrome 6.
6. They annually review their processes in line with new tanning technology to ensure the best compliance of their leather products and their waste discharge.
7. All their raw material is responsibly sourced, ensuring full compliance by suppliers and full traceability of all leathers.
As far as the chemistry lesson goes it’s clear that every possible effort is consistently being made in line with their pledge. And we all want reassurance that their effluent is being responsibly discharged and not just fed into the nearest river, and they have this covered too. It is pre-treated and then carefully piped to a place where it’s joined by the greasy Sunday roast water above, as well as the solid and non-solid waste from the smallest room in everyone’s homes, and all these are mixed and further treated by the City Council. In other words, a great deal of trouble and care is taken to ensure the best possible treatment of all effluent.
We can sleep at night.