Furniture and automotive brands “definitely want this”

The ultimate circular raw material

Continuity is a constant in the minds of the leadership team at leather chemicals manufacturer Smit & Zoon. Owner of the group, Marc Smit, is a representative of the seventh generation of the family that set the Netherlands-based company up. Next year, it will celebrate its  200th anniversary.

Chief executive, Hans van Haarst, says the current management team’s main challenge is to pass the company on to future generations “in better shape than we inherited”. And, because the only market for which the company develops and produces chemicals is leather, the continuity of the leather value chain is a fundamental part of that challenge. “For this reason, we have to drive sustainability, inside the company and outside, in the wider market,” Mr van Haarst says. Leather lends itself to this; he describes it as “the ultimate natural, circular, renewable raw material”.

In an interview with World Leather Hans van Haarst, CEO of Smit & Zoon, talks about the launch of a new company, Nera, and its first new sustainable leather tanning system, Zeology.

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Desire for sustainable leather among end consumers and brands

While he says the group spends most of its time talking to tanners, the desire among end consumers for leather that is of high quality but more sustainable seems clear to him. “This applies across the board,” he says. “Furniture and automotive brands definitely want this and luxury group Kering has already made public statements about insisting that its leather suppliers remove heavy metals from the tanning process. We are convinced this product fits with that.”

Interview with World Leather

Read the full article

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