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Shenzhen footwear summit addresses leather sustainability
2018/7/2 13:43:13 Source: footwearbiz Author: 点击率:

ISA TanTec’s senior director for operational strategies, Carl Flach, was one of the speakers at the 2018 Footwear Production Summit in Shenzhen in mid-June. He took part in a panel discussion on sustainability in footwear materials and manufacturing.

He said the Leather Working Group provides a valuable set of tools for footwear companies to evaluate the environmental performance of leather manufacturers but said more needs to be done to make it easy for buyers to consider the social and environmental aspects of sustainability too when assessing tanners.

He said he agreed that responsible chemical management is another critical aspect of being a sustainable supplier of leather to the footwear industry for lowering the overall environmental impact and avoiding restricted substances in the finished product and in wastewater.

But on the subject of wastewater, Mr Flach made the point that the industry needs to find “a very complex balance” between controlling effluent and excessive energy use. He explained that, in the context of sustainability, there needs to be a limit on the amount of energy and money a leather producer spends on reducing levels of chemical oxygen demand and salt in wastewater.

He said it’s important for tanners to make progress in wastewater treatment and pointed out that ISA TanTec is among leather manufacturing groups investigating technology that will help it become ‘zero waste’, but he said there is a limit beyond which it may no longer make sense, environmentally as well as financially, to treat wastewater.

As an example, he cited demands on salt that would require tanners to use large volumes of energy (and spend large amounts of money) to make salt levels in the effluent lower than levels in incoming water.

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