Flexible, laminar materials such as leather are tightly connected to the everyday life and consumer behaviour. Therefore, leather is subject to numerous media and public and technical discussions with changing issues and intensity. In addition to their hygienic qualities, sustainability in manufacture and use the discussion also focusses on ecological and economic-ethical issues from a local as well as a global point of view.
Particularly with regard to material ecology of leather, already at the end of the 1990s a project called "Comparison of the ecological overall impact of different tanning technologies" provided comprehensive knowledge which to this day is the basis for ecological evaluation and auditing systems in the tanning and leather industries.
A translation of the results for non-experts offers the german brochure "Ökologische Aspekte wichtiger Gerbverfahren" authored by Prof. Dr. Günter Reich, which is available at the publisher Forschungsgemeinschaft Leder e. V., Frankfurt.
Especially for leather FILK Freiberg is a competent, independent and non-profit research institution with high technological and material understanding. In addition to R&D projects dealing with new or improved product properties or technologies for their manufacture, ecological and hygienic aspects are also subject to research activities.
CO2 emissions and energy efficiency have established as further quality characteristics for environmental sustainability. Initiated by the German Leather Federation (VDL e. V.), the Forschungsgemeinschaft Leder e. V. has developed the first CO2 and energy label worldwide for tanneries called ECO2L (Energy Controlled Leather). This tool allows for tanneries to visualise and compare their energetic performance and CO2-emissions. At the same time approaches for continuous reduction of energy consumption and emissions are provided. FILK is engaged as certifying body for VDL.
Read more: website ECO₂L