At the Sustainable Angle we spend much of our time researching and sourcing innovative textiles and materials with a lower environmental footprint and reducing the fashion industry’s over-dependency on conventional cotton and polyester. These materials are showcased in the annual Future Fabrics Expo as well as in workshops and Pop ups throughout the year, and a curated selection on www.futurefabricsvirtualexpo.com. This year we are delighted to have DANI S.p.A included as both exhibiter and speaker at the seminars during the 6th Future Fabrics Expo on the 25 – 26th January 2017. For seminars and Exhibition register here.
For more than 10 years, Dani has chosen to be a sustainable company, recognising the social and environmental responsibility principles that guide its current and future business accomplishments, that are oriented towards development of the company and its employees, while safeguarding the future generations. Dani S.p.A is a leading leather manufacturer that has chosen to compensate circa 2,000 tonnes of CO2 released for the production of “Zero Impact” leather.
We had the pleasure of interviewing DANI S.p.A Marketing Manager Marta Fumei about their Zero Impact leather and what obstacles they think the fashion industry needs to overcome to become a more sustainable industry.
TSA – Can you provide a brief outline about what Zero Impact is and how it has evolved since its inception?
DANI – As a 66 year old family owned tannery, at Dani we felt it was important to develop what would have not simply be a “new product” but an icon of our corporate philosophy -that touches each strategic choice and innovation technology- integrated in the company’s DNA.
This is how Zero Impact Leather was born. We developed this project in three winning moves.
More Innovation: Innovations along the production process thanks to technological improvement in un-hairing, tanning, re-tanning and finishing phases, to substitute all heavy metals.
Less Emission: Thanks to our ability to measure CO2 emissions and the innovations introduced in the production phases, we were able to lower our CO2 emissions by 5%
Zero Impact: To reach the total compensation of CO2 produced, we are involved in a reforestation program in partnership with AzzeroCO2. Since we started we already planted 1,869 trees in Italy.
TSA What first inspired the owners to start developing Zero Impact? Was it a desire to improve sustainability in the fashion and leather industries or something else?
DANI Thanks to the technology available today, there are less concerns related to the sustainability of leather tanning. Innovations have been implemented to all phases of the process to limit the use of natural resources, to recover the waste and to have a better control of the entire production while safeguarding the working environment and respecting the laws that regulate our industry.
The desire to brush off our shoulders the image of a polluting and carless industry guided our development and choices, until sustainability became for us the priority: we conduct ongoing research to reduce the environmental impact of our production and at the same time we collaborate with the tanning district of Arzignano, including the purifying plant, chemical companies and all other partners that transform our waste into other products.
TSA Can you tell us about any positive environmental / social impacts you have seen or expect to see as a result of Zero Impact?
DANI The realisation of this project was also possible thanks to the involvement, participation, suggestions and experiments conducted with our partners.
With this project we would like to approach even more sustainable brands, building together a product that is responsible for consumers, the environment and the future generation. We would like to build awareness about the possibility of producing in a more sustainable way, and about the fact that we always put the research of innovative products as a starting point for everything we do.
To prove this, for two years Dani has been publishing its Sustainability Report: distributing it is our free choice, and represents our will of informing our stakeholders about the impact of our activities in a social and environmental context, explain our remuneration policy and commitments to employees, provide information on the relationship with customers and suppliers, and our involvement with the local community.
TSA Do you expect Zero Impact to be used by more large industry players in the future?
DANI Of course! We know for a fact that we are not the only one looking into this kind of innovation, but above all, we know that our customers are looking more and more for a partner rather than a supplier, someone that is safe and reliable, that can assure a certain level of quality, especially when it comes to what do we use to tan our leather.
TSA The fashion, leather and textiles industries are some of the worst offenders out there for negative environmental and social impact. What do you think are the most pressing environmental and social challenges that we are facing in the industry?
DANI Unfortunately the past actions and the past practices undertaken by the fashion industry have not always proved them right. Is it also true, that the world as it is today cannot keep up with the increasing demand of throw away fashion: our habit has changed so much that, for a lot of people, now shopping is just a primary leisure and they want everything at a low price. The fashion industry has a very complex supply chain and, for this reason, companies should start looking at each stage and character of this: not only to reduce the use of natural resources and better select the raw material needed, but especially behaving ethically and contributing positively to the society and to the environment, everywhere in the world. It is important to pay attention to all the sustainable dimensions in order to start making the difference. When we only consider one or another, we lose something along the way and our commitment does not build as much.
TSA What do you think is the biggest obstacle to becoming a more sustainable and less harmful industry?
DANI The biggest obstacle would be not to focus on all aspects of sustainability but only on one of these. In fact, there cannot be an economy without a society, and a society cannot survive in an environment that will not last for long. We should not forget that the environment is the most important element, where everything happens and on which everything depends.
TSA What are your plans moving forward?
DANI With the project Zero Impact we would like to start a contagious activity, not only directed to our B2B customers, but also to the final consumer. We would like to bring to their attention the care and the attention we pay every day in what we do and how we do it. We are looking at the future imaging new partnership with University and research Institute, to make sure to build together innovations. We are also looking at young generations, trying to leave them with a knowledge about higher care for the society and the environment, and trying to give them the possibilities to grow with us.
TSA How can industry professionals and consumers get involved and engage with the work you are doing?
We always love to promote our “open door” policy, and one of our main aims is to welcome anyone that has is curious, or is willing to learn more about leather. We would like to invite professionals and consumers into our plants in Arzignano to experience a day at the tannery. We would like professionals to try our products while sharing the same visions and values. We are here to give you all the explanation you might need and to share our passion and our knowledge.