June 14, 2022

Fact: The Leather Industry is Changing

It is no longer acceptable to source just ‘any leather’. Globally, consumers are demanding sustainability and consciousness when it comes to selecting leather products.

We hear it every day, and we get it. That’s why at Tasman Leathers of New Zealand we do what we do.

Tasman started as a small family business back in 1953, on the banks of New Zealand’s Whanganui river, and today we are Australasia’s only end-to-end leather processor supplying to the world. The leather industry is changing, so is Tasman.

Consumers are becoming more conscious of the environment. They prefer eco-friendly material, conservative use of resources, reduced emission of pollutants, greater social commitment and fair treatment of employees in production facilities.

Thankfully, companies such as Steel Blue are actively engaging with Tasman to pioneer this trend for their work boots and accessories. Steel Blue are implementing five key sustainability initiatives with a goal of completing these initiatives by 2025. Sustainability is a commitment, and a journey, hence the roadmap. Specifically, Steel Blue are actively working towards reducing energy, water and chemicals used in their supply chain and manufacturing processes. Together Steel Blue and Tasman are improving environmental protocols, finding sustainable alternatives and minimising waste to landfill as Tasman also commits to constantly improving sustainability practices.

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As demand for leather goods grows, the need to consider the environment grows too, and this consideration is driving a keen interest in sustainable practices. At Tasman 83% of the energy used comes from renewable sources that harness the raw elements of New Zealand’s landscape, such as hydro and wind. Doing the little things: whether it’s switching to energy efficient lighting on the factory floor, or changing machinery from hydraulic to direct-drive motors – it all adds up to reducing the environmental footprint.

As a Reach Compliant company, harmful and hazardous banned substances are not used within Tasman processes or the product thereafter. Historically the leather processing technique of using chrome has gone into waterways. At Tasman, techniques are used to segregate and recover the chrome so it can be reused again and again, saving it from ending up in waterways and the ocean. Water-based products are use so compounds associated with solvents are not emitted.

Leather is a durable, long lasting by-product of the meat industry. The process begins with our animals and their welfare. Livestock in New Zealand roam year-round the famously lush and green pastures of our beautiful countryside with access if needed to conserved forages like hay and silage. In New Zealand, animals are protected by national standards to ensure they are treated with care and respect. Livestock are raised to be able to wander and graze freely – they live as they would naturally, ensuring that animals have had the best standards of welfare and lifestyle.

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The Leather Working Group (LWG) is a multi-stakeholder initiative involving brands, suppliers, manufacturers, NGOs and end users. It uses an audit protocol that assesses the environmental compliance and performance capabilities of tanners, and promotes sustainable environmental business practices within the leather industry. Tasman has been audited against LWG standards and a member since 2018. Tasman currently holds a 99% traceability rating.

As always, we aspire to make the best quality leather, and ensure we take care of our community and our beautiful country. Our respect for both product and the place that provides it drives new innovation, new actions and new measures to look after it.

As the leather industry moves forward with more transparency, it’s important to know the leather source and to be able to communicate this to customers. New Zealand’s small size gives us a unique advantage that other countries can’t compete with. Currently Tasman have traceability to the point of processing, but we are setting our sights further. Soon we will be able to provide clients with traceability right back to the farm.

It’s our core value to produce quality leather with respect for the whole process.




Let’s talk about how Tasman Tanning can work with you to achieve your leather objectives. Please contact us to discuss http://tasmanleathers.co.nz