Première Vision Paris and sustainable innovations in the leather industry




Première Vision Paris kicks off ( Feb. 7 - 9 at Paris Nord Villepinte Parc d'Expositions) with 1244 leading international exhibitors from the textile and leather industry. This new edition of Première Vision Paris offers additional focus on a series of initiatives aimed at updating industry insiders and professionals and providing them with concrete solutions in terms of sustainable sourcing and production.


We recently spoke with Desolina Suter, Fashion Director at PVP, who, among other topics, told us about the latest developments in tanning and sustainability. "Today, the approach to sustainable development in leather is global," Miss Suter explained, "There is also a profound transformation taking place upstream in the sector and at all stages of material processing. The three axes on which this change is being implemented are product traceability, reducing the environmental impact of processing, and sustainability.


Miss Suter, can we therefore say that the leather industry is evolving toward greater eco-responsibility?


"Yes, the great efforts to reduce the environmental impacts of processing, particularly at Italian tanneries, should be emphasized. Globally, the LWG (Leather Working Group, the world's first environmental attestation for the leather manufacturing industry - nda) certification and the UNIC Code of Conduct and Social Responsibility attested by ICEC, which supports tanning companies on good production practices from an environmental perspective and beyond such as for example: the origin of raw material, reduction of resource consumption (water, energy) and reduction of chemical use, are very important."



Going into the specifics of these best practices, what are the benefits for example of raw material traceability?


"Knowing the origin of the raw hide makes it possible to identify the regulations to which the producing country is bound, on two levels: agricultural patterns and industrial processes. There are a number of innovative tools for full traceability of leather, such as unit laser marking of leather, readable from the raw state to the finished article by the Danish company SPOOR."


Speaking of tanning processes, can you point out any new developments?


"I would like to point out chrome recycling tanning. This patented process does not use new chromium, reduces the number of steps and shortens the production process; another innovative aspect is the compostability and eventual industrial biodegradability of leathers. This is a new, much sought-after performance because it favors the product's end of life and reduces its environmental impact."


In the area, however, of metal-free tanning?


"There are already metal-free concements based on synthetic tannins (derived from polymers) that give unparalleled softness and make it possible to obtain pure whites or very bright colors, which are impossible to obtain on a wet blue chrome base without resorting to a pigmented finish; another novelty to mention is the tanning agent Zenolite, a compound of oxygen, silicon and aluminum. An innovative solution that offers many advantages because it is free of chromium, heavy metals, bisphenol and is also compostable."


Has the need for sustainable tanning research favored vegetable tanning?


"We have seen the emergence of a new generation of vegetable-tanned leathers with renewed interest from the market because basically it is a metal-free tanning. Thanks to research and development, vegetable tanning now offers a greater variety of behaviors. It is now possible to obtain completely new hands that are much more flexible than in the past. One example is the new circular tannins such as olive leaves or rhubarb roots that allow these co-products of the food industry to be enhanced and allow for softer leathers."


Read the other news of February 2023