The revolution of the tanning industry starts from Solofra, in the province of Avellino, home to the most important tanning district of sheep and goats in Italy. It is leaded by Be Green Tannery, an innovative SME founded in 2018 by Felice and Annalisa De Piano, who decided to change the market rules with an ambitious project undertaken five years ago. After a long research and numerous studies, they patented an innovative manufacturing process, the first in the world to have obtained the metal free product certification from the Italian Leather Research Institute (SSIP). A virtuous processing method, which reduces waste, powered by energy obtained from renewable sources, capable of giving life to a durable, performing and at the same time green material, as the absence of metals significantly reduces the environmental impact of the production cycle. The Campania based tannery announces that the innovative process developed makes it possible to reduce by 33% the time spent and the energy consumed and by 30% the water used. And it is exactly the mix of quality and sustainability that has allowed the company to reach a turnover of 3.7 million euro in 2019 and to export its leathers all over the world, from Taiwan to the United States and from France to Korea.
“At the origin of the project – explains Felice De Piano, founder of Be Green Tannery – there is the need to differentiate ourselves with a more sustainable product, but able at the same time to meet the high standards required by our customers, Italian and international companies operating in the luxury fashion segment. Companies that are increasingly looking for raw materials that complement quality and attention to the environment”.
But how can the Be Green Tannery tanning process be considered sustainable? First of all, the leather of the Solofra company is characterised by a metal concentration lower than 0.1% (1000 mg/kg), while the value usually reaches 10 000 mg/kg with the presence, beyond chromium, also of aluminum, titanium, zirconium and iron. Moreover, the environmental impact is lower thanks to the significant reduction in processing times, energy and water consumption: the required production hours are 24 compared to the 36 of classic tanning methods, 360 kW against 540 and 7 thousand litres of water, necessary as opposed to the 10 thousand normally used.
Guaranteed quality. The final product is resistant to tearing, traction and slackening and has better performance in dry heat conditions than chrome tanned leather. A commitment to the environment that is giving excellent results also on a commercial level. “The quality of the final material and the manufacturing process allowed us to close strategic agreements with brands belonging to the most important groups in the fashion sector and exceed 50 customers – concludes Felice De Piano – And even in these hard times our product has demonstrated its strength, although undergoing an inevitable contraction, equal to half the one recorded by those who produce chrome-tanned leathers”. But the company keeps aiming higher and higher, which is why at the beginning of 2021 it will launch a collective financing campaign on Mamacrowd “with the goal of growing and further increasing the sustainability degree in every phase of the production process: energy supply through renewable sources, further reduction and optimisation of energy, consumption of water and chemical products, achievement of new certificates attesting attention to the environment”.