Conceria Anzolin is one example of a tannery that is proactively targeting the Asian market. Their speciality is footwear leather and as many of the major brands relocated to China and India, it made sense for the company to establish a warehouse and sales office in Hong Kong three years ago in order to be closer to the market. However, this does not change the company’s commitment to and pride in the area. Anzolin told Leather International: ‘100% of our production is carried out here in Arzignano.’

50% of the company’s output is for the domestic market, while the remainder is exported, mainly to China. As margins decrease across the industry, tanners are forced to increase volumes but for Anzolin quality remains of utmost importance.


Conceria Anzolin were established in 1947, and Umberto is the 3rd generation of the family to run the tannery. Initially the company focused on the production of footwear leather, specialising in patent and brush-off leathers. Nowadays, the full-cycle tannery produces around 10 million sq ft of leather each year and the production range now also includes full grain leathers.

In seeking out new markets, Conceria Anzolin began to dedicate a small percentage of production to upholstery leathers. The main market for the company’s upholstery leather is the USA.

Their incursion into the upholstery market saw investment in new machinery including two jumbo rollercoaters and a new spray machine in the last year. This was in addition to the annual renewal of the machinery park.


Anzolin believes that the real consequences of the REACh proposals will not be seen for some time yet. ‘It could be very dangerous for quality leather. We run the risk that small chemicals suppliers could disappear, meaning less choice, less individuality and less opportunity for tanners to create original leathers. This threat is of great concern to me.’

Anzolin classifies the ‘Acordo di programa’ as a very important step forward for tanning in the region. The ten-year investment programme, is aimed at reducing chrome, sulfate and chloride to specified standards, thus improving the quality of the rivers. Anzolin is proud of the anti-pollution plan stating that people come from all over the world to see the project in operation.

To Anzolin, this will lead to progress not merely on an environmental level but it will allow tanners to plan for and invest in the future. Where companies previously had to seek permission to operate on a yearly basis, the Acordo sets out the region’s future for the next ten years.

The market

According to Anzolin, there are now 300 tanneries operating in Arzignano. ‘A few footwear leather tanners have been lost in recent years but the situation is very stable. We are trying to resist as much as we can. Recently profits have been much lower.

As president of the Arzignano Tanners’ Association Anzolin is a staunch advocate of the implementation of a campaign to promote the ‘ingredients’ of Italian leather: ‘Nowadays end customers focus much more on the brand than the type or quality of material used. The quality of Italian leather also encompasses what is ‘behind the scenes’, such as the highest technology, respect for the environment and employees.’ He believes that the leather industry should try to make buyers and clients more aware of the leather making process as well as the ethical implications so that they can make an informed decision.