“Reef is aware of the strong competitive edge to be gained by using the LITE label,” says Thomas Schneider, founder and CEO of ISA TanTec. “After all, customers today expect the products they buy to have as little impact on the environment as possible. By using LITE leather, shoe manufacturers can prove they are taking their responsibility to climate protection very seriously.” Reef has introduced a wide range of LITE leather products to global retail.

“Reef has for some years now been dedicated to keeping the amount of resources used in manufacturing processes as low as possible,” says Jeff Moore, President of Reef. “LITE leather lets us implement our strategy for sustainability even more effectively.”

The basis of LITE certification is formed by the “carbon footprint”, which documents the carbon dioxide emissions per square meter of manufactured leather. The LITE standards are based on the already extremely strict standards of the Leather Working Group (LWG) protocols on the average consumption of energy and water. The tannery only requires 21.5 megajoules of energy for one square meter of wet blue to finished leather, while according to the LWG protocols the industry average is 61 megajoules in this category.

ISA TanTec manufactures the LITE leather in Saigon (Vietnam) and, since June of this year, in the new tannery in Heshan City (China). Both facilities were designed as “eco” tanneries, so called because of their especially low energy and water consumption. ISA TanTec draws on innovative technologies that have not yet caught on among much of the leather industry. For example, residual water is subsequently cleaned in computerised plant-based purification systems, thereby considerably lowering the amount of energy required for water treatment. The heat required for the process water is generated entirely through solar thermal energy plants. Furthermore, the company has invested in tanning machines with especially slow rotating drums, which reduces the amount of energy consumed, compared to conventional technologies, by 75% and the amount of water by 50%.

“Shoe manufacturers need to get “greener”; in light of the growing awareness of an impending environmental collapse, more and more customers see it as their duty to purchase preferred brands. In order to meet this demand, shoe manufacturers rely on dedicated, innovative partners in the leather industry. By incorporating the LITE standard, ISA TanTec is setting a new benchmark that offers consumers a genuine starting point”, says Schneider.