Our philosophy on oils in general
We use fish oil, rapeseed oil, sunflower oil and lecithin among others for the leather industry. We carefully select these oils and fats for their excellent post-tanning properties and other performance qualities like colour and heat durability. At the same time, we carefully consider the sustainability of the oils and minimize the environmental impact of transportation distances.
Our philosophy on fish oil
Because of the specific characteristics of fish oil, it is historically an important component in the fat liquors used by the leather industry and at Smit & zoon. In general, fish oil is considered a sustainable raw material. We do not use any fish oil coming from endangered fish species.
A major fish oil used for our post-tanning products is salmon oil, which is produced from cultivated salmon offals. These oils are sourced in Europe. All the other fish oil used for our post-tanning products is made from offals from wild fish (e.g. tobis, mackerel, herring and codfish) caught for human consumption and under approved fishing quota in the European waters. Independent studies show that fish oil has a favourable carbon footprint compared to vegetable oils, although there is not yet an industry wide accepted carbon footprint calculation of these oils.
We have chosen to use fish oils caught in areas near our production facility in the Netherlands to minimize the environmental impact of transportation.
Our philosophy on vegetable oils
We use vegetable oil from several oil-seeds, the main ones are rapeseed and sunflower. These are grown and sourced in the European region and are therefore not contributing to deforestation.
We are aware that these can be destined for human consumption. The usage of these oils by the leather industry is less then 1% of the global production.
Our philosophy on transporting powders versus liquids
Smit & zoon offers products with different physical forms, e.g. liquid and powder. Our products are often produced in liquid form and spray-dried to powder. Supplying powder products avoids the shipping of water all over the world and thus minimizing the environmental impact of transportation.
Certain industries require liquid products for e.g. automated dosage systems. In this case, it is interesting to calculate where the breakeven point is in the carbon footprint of shipping spray dried powders versus liquid products (that contain high percentages of water). Calculations show that an improved carbon foot print is obtained when using liquids within an approx. 3.500 km range of the syntan production plant and powder products when over approx. 3.500 km range from the syntan plant.
Our philosophy on of Substances of Very High Concern (SVHC)
Smit & zoon offers a full range of synthetic retanning agents and fatliquors to their customers. Each of these products complies with the European Union (EU) regulations, directives and restrictions regarding dangerous substances for use in standard leather consumer goods, including substances on the Candidate list of Substances of Very High Concern and the applicable limits.
Our philosophy on research & development (R&D)
Smit & zoon is a leading company in the leather industry. We continuously invest in developing new post-tanning performance products to support market trends and meet the wishes of our customers. While doing so we aim to become more sustainable. We explore how we can use more sustainable raw materials and we aim to reduce water, energy and CO2 emission in our production process. Our products meet the latest legislations concerning restricted substances, REACh, safety and health.
Our research & development does not only focus on new post-tanning performance products, it also focusses on the application by our customers. A good example of such a development is our Simplicity concept. This concept was developed by Smit & zoon to simplify and boost the efficiency of post-tanning operations. The concept demonstrates conclusively that by rethinking and simplifying conventional processes, leathers can still be made to meet every demand in terms of looks, handling and other properties. Simplicity means a helping hand in our customers quest for lean and sustainable processes (e.g. by measurable savings in water (60%) and energy use (30%) on small-scale experiments). Simplicity adds an environmentally-friendly stamp on the leathers produced.
Contact Smit & zoon for further information
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