3 January 2023

Despite vast reductions in water and chemical use, tanners are still looking for ways to make their techniques more sustainable. Report by Real Leather.



In fact, according to a recent survey, 84% of tanners said they were, or intended to be, looking to reduce their use of fossil-carbon based chemicals by replacing them with biobased carbon content chemicals.

The survey, conducted by International Leather Maker magazine, found improving biodegradability is also a big concern for the industry. 57% of tanners expressed interest.

European Union Legislation on Chrome VI limits seems to have provoked thought among tanning technologists, with 69% of survey respondents saying they planned to move to metal-free tanning systems for some or all of their production over the next 12 months.

The desire to move to biobased chemicals could well be a response to work by a number of companies that supply leather chemicals. They have been pioneering methods of extracting chemicals that do not rely on the use of fossil fuels. This will help tanners further reduce their carbon footprints without compromising on the quality of the leather they produce. This will make leather even more sustainable in comparison to entirely fossil fuel-derived materials that are marketed as alternatives.

Product end of life is also becoming more of a consideration for tanners, with 57% expressing interest in their products’ biodegradability.

The tanning industry seems to be in a very healthy place. Despite the many employee rights and environmental improvements that have been made over the years, it continues to strive for more progress in every area.

About APLF

We bring leather, material and fashion businesses together: an opportunity to meet and greet face to face. We bring them from all parts of the world so that they can find fresh partners, discover new customers or suppliers and keep ahead of industry developments.


We organise a number of trade exhibitions which focus on fashion and lifestyle: sectors that are constantly in flux, so visitors and exhibitors alike need to be constantly aware both of the changes around them and those forecast for coming seasons.


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