Many companies talk the talk. With global warming one of the biggest issues the world faces today, protecting the environment is a hot topic. Yet sustainable leather company Dani is walking the walk, and aims for zero impact with regards to its overall carbon dioxide production. Through its ongoing reforestation programme, it hopes to give back much more than beautiful leathers for the world to enjoy.

Dani was founded in 1950 by Angelo Dani in an Arzignano basement as a family business. The tannery has since grown to employ more than 1,000 people around the world, with 1.5% of its business reinvested back into research and innovation. Aside from its main showroom in Italy, it has one in Manhattan and opened its latest showroom in Hong Kong last year.

“Leather is a by-product of the food industry,” explains Giulia Spinetta, Dani Asia’s showroom manager based in Hong Kong, at an American Institute of Architects Hong Kong Chapter seminar held in late April.

“We obtain fresh hide in Europe, which is of the highest quality and results in an excellent end product. Salt used to preserve is removed through mechanical shaking, which has the least impact on the environment. The tanning process then protects the hide and allows it to be stored for a long period of time.”

The hide then undergoes a multiple stage process that involves cleansing, trimming, splitting, tanning, re-tanning, dyeing, drying and finishing, ensuring a smooth, supple end product.

Dani produces 14 lines of leather with a total of 450 colours available. The majority of its leathers are used in the automotive industry as upholstery for high-end cars, while 37% is used in furnishings and 13% in fashion items such as handbags and shoes.

Due to its range of aniline, nabuk, full and corrected grain leather, Dani has a number of products suitable for residential upholstery.

Nabuk 3M, for example, has a soft, warm and natural finish; treated with Scotchgard, it repels water and resists dirt to make it ideal for contemporary upholstery applications.

Rustico Nabuk, meanwhile, has a vintage lived-in look with a more prominent grain that lends itself to more traditional furnishings. Both come from the best European hides and are processed entirely in Italy.

In 2011, Dani was the first tannery in the world to obtain the environmental certification Carbon Footprint. Its ability to measure and monitor the entire production cycle allows it to produce leather that is chrome and heavy metals free, complying with the ISO 15987 specification that requires the sum of all heavy metal in the leather cannot exceed 0.1%.

Its innovations include using tanning technology free of heavy metals, replacing them with water-based products and enzymes. In addition, up to 99% of its discharge water is recycled, while 89% of waste is recovered.
The majority of Dani’s suppliers are from the tanning district of Arzignano, and the company is committed to employing a solid percentage of staff less than 30 years of age to ensure the region’s future economic sustainability.

Dani’s dedication to sustainability on every level makes it an admirable company both for its ideals and its products.