Thursday, February 5, 2015

Clean yet Fashionable – Leather Technologies make it possible

We possibly cannot think of urban living and lifestyles without leather goods -  whether it is our leather bags, belts and wallets, jackets or, a dash of luxury to the upholstery in our living rooms or in our cars. However, what is such a globally popular and centuries old fashion item, is often the subject of discussion and debate when we look at how it is made.

The image of the leather industry has often suffered in recent times. Due to some tanneries operating without adequate compliance to environmental norms, the whole industry comes under the scanner for pollution and environmental issues. Often, these allegations therefore do not portray the larger picture and the industry has even been held responsible for issues such as killing of animals, application of toxic chemicals, contamination of soil and ground water and other issues – all of which are not entirely true. 

Such negative reports are clearly detrimental for the growth of the leather industry, which  is among the top ten foreign exchange earners for India. India is the second largest producer of footwear and leather garments in the world, as reported by the Council for Leather Exports in India. Apart from being a significant foreign exchange earner, the leather industry has tremendous potential for employment generation. Direct and indirect employment by the Indian leather industry is in the order of 2 million. 

In fact, leather is a sustainable environmental solution to the very disposal problem of a large volume of hides and skins that originate from the meat industry. Hides are an inevitable byproduct and the technical process of leather-making effectively transforms this waste product to a durable, versatile and highly valued item marketed by some of world’s leading brands. The environmental impact of disposing all the hides as waste would be significantly larger than the sum of the alleged environmental hazards posed by the entire leather industry. Therefore, it is only more prudent to use the throwaways of the meat industry and make value-added leather out of it.

Undoubtedly, the survival and growth of the leather industry in future will be determined by a more stringent implementation of measures with regard to impact on the environment, including reduction of waste, pollution, energy and fresh water consumption. The good news is that significant improvement is possible with the use of best available technologies from LANXESS.

Whether it is tanning or the beamhouse stage, or finishing techniques, advanced sustainable leather technologies are not only environmentally friendly, the finished leather is also rendered robust, suitable for everyday use and attractive to the eye. Products from LANXESS make this possible, whether it is leather in a swanky car, or a trendy bag or even in modern furniture in any part of world. Tanneries are usually small or medium sized enterprises, with limited resources and capabilities to address sustainability concerns, this is where chemical companies like LANXESS can step in with their technology advantage and contribute towards sustainability improvements in leather manufacturing. LANXESS calls it Sustainable Leather Management.

Interestingly, 1 square meter of leather produced using the best available technologies requires 10 times lesser water than the production of the same length of jeans fabric (approx. 500 litres of water is used just for the bleaching, dyeing, printing and finishing of one pair of jeans).

Leather experts globally have conducted studies on assessing the life cycle of leather production and have discovered that leather production provides useful materials for other industries, 99% of which could be utilized. 57% of a dried hide is converted into leather, protein, hairs, (~20%) can be used for various other products, shavings (~5 %) can be recycled or reused, for making construction materials, fat (5%) could be isolated and used as fuel for steam generation, among others.

With the LANXESS’ Sustainable Leather Management program, a comprehensive management approach to provide sustainability solutions to the leather industry, the company has laid down certain benchmarks for sustainable products and processes in the leather industry. Through this approach, the company helps make finer quality leather that lasts longer using modern technologies and leaving minimum impact on the environment.

LANXESS is a leading specialty chemicals company with sales of EUR 8.3 billion in 2013 and about 16,700 employees in 29 countries. The company is currently represented at 52 production sites worldwide. The core business of LANXESS is the development, manufacturing and marketing of plastics, rubber, intermediates and specialty chemicals. LANXESS is a member of the leading sustainability indices Dow Jones Sustainability Index (DJSI World and DJSI Europe) and FTSE4Good.

Cologne,                January 19, 2015
kaw                       (2015-00002e)

Forward-Looking Statements.
This news release may contain forward-looking statements based on current assumptions and forecasts made by LANXESS AG management. Various known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors could lead to material differences between the actual future results, financial situation, development or performance of the company and the estimates given here. The company assumes no liability whatsoever to update these forward-looking statements or to conform them to future events or developments.

Information for editors:
All LANXESS news releases and their accompanying photos can be found at Recent photos of the Board of Management and other LANXESS image material are available at The latest TV footage, audiofiles and podcasts can be found at

No comments:

Post a Comment