Aware that the scientific approach is the main tool to develop sustainability, in the last twelve months the PrimeAsia tanning group has worked on a project that allows to measure, manage and reduce the environmental impact of its processes based upon reliable data, obtained in the basis of a rigorous scientific method recognised internationally. We are talking about a Life Cycle Assessment study (LCA) which covered the most representative leather items of the group and which was conducted using high quality ‘primary’ data, i.e. data that are the result of a detailed analysis of all elements that contribute to the environmental impacts of the tanning production according to specific regulations. In fact, this is the largest LCA study ever held so fare in the leather industry.
PrimeAsia explains that the review covered 11 supply chain configurations and 266 process phases (from cattle slaughter to leather finishing) with 3.000 data points collected and operations in 5 different countries. Three slaughterhouses and five leather production units were involved. The study quantified the results of all impact categories provided for by the method (consumption of resources like water, ozone, soil, climate impact, water eutrophication, etc.) obtaining numbers that now represent a starting point for further improvements, but which can also be used to counter the attacks of detractors in the sector by comparing leather with other materials falsely presented to the market as more sustainable.
“The discussions around the sustainability of different materials are becoming more important and will further increase in the coming years. However, we have seen that on many occasions, those discussions are based on assumptions, generic and outdated data. For this reason, and to be able to manage our efficiencies in a more precise way, we decided that it was important to perform an assessment that would look at all the aspects of our value chain, considering the collection of precise primary data”, said Jon Clark, PrimeAsia’s CEO.
More than simply evaluating how different factors affects the efficiencies in leather processing, this approach scanned the structural characteristics of all facilities involved in the production of PrimeAsia’s leather, as well as a vast amount of process related data, to identify possible environmental improvement hypotheses and validate efficiency gains.
But this is just the first step. Fernando Bellese, PrimeAsia’s Chief Sustainability Officer, states: “this is not the end, but rather the beginning, of a continuous process aimed at adopting LCA thinking as a way to confront our beliefs and provide more reliable, scientifically based data that will support our decisions aimed at achieving our Sustainability Goals”.
The project was developed with the support of Spin 360, an Italian environmental consulting company with more than 10 years of experience in developing LCA’s for the luxury, footwear and leather sectors.
Leader in the supply of leathers for casual and sports shoes to the main world brands, PrimeAsia runs two ultra-modern tanneries in Asia, one located in Dongguan (China) which guarantees a production capacity of about 5 million square feet and the other one located near Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, which can produce up to 6 million square feet per month. Very committed to environmental sustainability, last year PrimeAsia launched the “Responsibly Raised” project to promote innovative practices capable of promoting the traceability of the entire supply chain upstream of the tannery. PrimeAsia has got the Gold Certification from the Leather Working Group.