Thomas Schneider, ISA Tan Tec

24 September 2009

Tanneries and locations: Guangzhou, China. New plant opening in Vietnam, Saigon, October 2009.

Production: 2.5 million square feet annually with a turnover of €46 million in 2008. Process wet-blue to finished leather from mainly US hides. Production focussed on footwear and upholstery leather with the latter cut into sets. Additional 2 million square feet capacity expected from new plant in Vietnam.

Tannery employees: 600 (additional 250 expected in Vietnam)

Key customers/brands: Timberland, Rockport, Keen, New Balance, Hush Puppies, Mazda and Ford.

Other information: German born, Thomas Schneider founded the ISA Tan Tec company in 1995. A joint-venture with German automotive supplier, Schweizer Group, the company through Schneider has been at the vanguard of eco-friendly tanning. They have developed an environmental concept called LITE (Low Impact to Environment) which is focussed on reducing the company's carbon footprint.

Products made using ISA Tan Tec's system use roughly 35% less energy and 50% less water than traditional tanning processes. Even higher green standards are expected from their new plant in Vietnam, which opens in October 2009.

Schneider studied chemistry and biology at the University of Konstanz and trained as a tanner at the famous tanning school in Reutlingen. Prior to establishing ISA Tan Tec he worked at tanneries in Australia and Asia before moving to China in 1988.

ISA Tan Tec have received several awards for quality from companies such as Timberland and were awarded ‘supplier of the year 2006' by Mazda. They recently were awarded ‘high tech enterprise' status by the Chinese provincial government of Guangzhou for their environmental stewardship and business practices.

In 2006, Thomas Schneider launched the working group of Foreign Tanners in China to promote ideas and environmentally friendly production and, exchange information and best practice between tanners.

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