“Sustainability is not a story, but a commitment. The Cuoio di Toscana Consortium has always been committed to ensuring respect for the environment. The vegetable tanned sole leather industry is sustainable starting from its DNA, a virtuous example of circular economy and an ancient art, maintained unchanged over the centuries”, declares Antonio Quirici President of the Consortium.
A concrete example of circular economy and respect for the environment, the consortium is market leader in the creation of sole leather and actually represents the entire supply chain of this leather type with an Italian market share up to 98% and a European market share above 80%.
“Sustanaibility Statement” formalises and defines the best sustainability practices of the consortium companies, recalling first of all that leather is a 100% natural, renewable and recycled. In fact, the 7 companies associated with the Consortium transform food industry waste, otherwise destined for disposal, into a quality, excellence symbol of high Made in Italy craftsmanship. No animal is killed for the sole purpose of using its skin. Animal welfare and traceability are in fact the priorities of Cuoio di Toscana, which among the indispensable prerequisites requires that leather comes from non-intensive farms and cruelty free slaughtering methods.
With regard to the vegetable tanning process, the “Sustanaibility Statement” underlines the importance and qualitative value of slow production through a process rooted over the centuries and based on the use of organic materials such as tannins, extracted from chestnut, mimosa and quebracho plants, which guarantee metal-free processing to protect the health of consumers and the quality of the creations and the environment. Thanks to this treatment, the leather is ductile, more resistant and guarantees products greater safety even when they come into contact with the consumers’ skin.
The Italian tannery is a circular model that provides for the recovery of organic waste produced by the first processing stages, which is fundamental since it removes from the waste cycle organic matter rich in proteins and amino acids that can still be used in food, pharmaceutical and nutraceutical industries. Natural fertilisers and biostimulants processed from tanning waste help to reduce the environmental impact of crops because they reduce the use of agrochemicals and chemical fertilisers on one side and on the other they make the soil and the quality of the crop more fertile. Also in terms of construction, leather processing scraps are useful as they serve as additives, retardants and also fillers in constructions and road surfaces. Always in terms of resource recycling, waste water deriving from industrial processing is conveyed to centralised purifiers in the Tuscan territory to be appropriately purified.
Moreover, tanneries have continuously implemented energy saving actions, in order to eliminate waste and reduce consumption. The energy sources for their thermal needs are represented by natural gas and other fossil fuels, while the use of renewable energy is constantly increasing.
Not just a product: the Sustainability Statement of Cuoio di Toscana emphasises the relationship between sustainability, research, new technologies and human factor. All the companies of the Consortium are also called to commit themselves to support social value ethics, and respect the rights and protection of their workers.
In terms of traceability, the seven tanneries have invested in the creation of a traceability kit for customers and partner: a Cuoio di Toscana branded protective film to be applied to their product and the Consortium. An element capable of authenticating the high quality of the raw material and safeguarding the leather in its final processing stages.