Equipped with production facilities, connected to high-tech research and development laboratories, the Tuscan company works with the best Italian and foreign tanneries. We talk about it with Franca Nuti, Head of Research and Development at FGL International, as well as leading exponent of the Italian Association of Leather Chemists (AICC).

How can the sustainability concept be interpreted at FGL?

“Sustainability is now a concept that guides business operations in their everyday life, because a product, an article is conceived and realised by optimising the impact it has on the environment, in all its aspects. This is what is required by the entire supply chain and what FGL International has set itself as goal for many years, paying the utmost attention to the evolution of regulations, the concept of circular economy and market demands, managing their expectations. The company has planned its activities through a quality management system (UNI ISO EN 9001) which has been active for almost 20 years and a safety management system (according to the UNI ISO 45001 standard) alongside the existing OHSAS. FGL also immediately joined the project to reduce chemical risks of the ZDHC platform, becoming in 2017 Contributor and immediately adding its products to the Gateway portal”.

We know that you are also committed to defining supply chain regulations

“These activities are very important also to better communicate with suppliers and customers. FGL International is inscribed in the UNI Standardisation Body, taking part in the technical commission CT013 dedicated to the definition of the skin rules and of the Working Group dedicated to norms on chemical products, coordinating their activities”.

What are your most innovative product lines in this field?

“Activities planned by FGL International have led to the development of many new products and process proposals with the aim of solving critical issues that the various specifications and regulatory limitations have brought out. For example, new lines of dyes have been created that are ideal for making metal-free articles that require high resistance. Based on what started in previous years with the construction of Zero Line, still in constant evolution since 2012, the commitment and experimentation continue to select products with a lower environmental impact suitable for creating items that respect the most restrictive needs of the market. New formulas have also been developed aimed at improving health and safety aspects in the workplace and among these greases of the Idrosol, Idrosin, Idrol lines with particular reference to the AU line for the automotive industry”.

Which new goals will you try to achieve as far as research is concerned?

“The goal for the future can only be to keep seeking solutions that allow us to continue to be a reliable partner for tanneries, interpreting their needs and overcoming the challenges that the market will present us. The research must learn how to best manage collaboration with suppliers, being ready to analyse alternative proposals from which to create innovations that allow to produce items with reduced consumption, time and waste and at the same time with performance properties that can interpret needs and customer expectations. In this process FGL research will also focus on evaluating the use of alternative sources linked to the Green economy and in any case to the concept of circular economy aiming at sustainable products”.

What new challenges does the chemical tanning sector still have to win in your opinion?

“Over the years, the chemical tanning sector has perhaps experienced the biggest change in its history because in a decisive manner the regulatory aspects, including Reach, have led and pushed the sector towards a profound reorganisation of its structures and human resources. All this is constantly evolving and future challenges will necessarily have to be faced with competence and professionalism by building increasingly organised and reliable business management systems. A decisive point will be the ability of the various organisations in the supply chain to team up to manage issues through collaboration in order to solve common problems”.