Act for Compensation

AKU adopts Zero Impact leather for the lifestyle line AKU Plus and marks a step forward in the outdoor footwear industry.

AKU, the Italian outdoor footwear specialist, acts to reduce the environmental impact starting from the selection of materials. The outdoor lifestyle line AKU PLUS is a range of models where the traditional craftsmanship meets the premium quality Italian leather Zero Impact of Dani tannery. With open eyes on sustainability and style.
The Zero Impact is a chrome and heavy metal free leather. It complies with the specification ISO 15987, which requires that the sum of all the heavy metal contained in the leather must not exceed the 0.1 %. All the processing stages are realized with innovative products, requiring a substantial commitment of resources in the experimentation and industrialization of new production processes that is a further guarantee of excellent quality.

The three main steps of the “Zero Impact leather project” to reduce the environmental impact and compensate are:

1. Innovative production method.

2. Energy efficiency along the production process.

3. Reforestation using internationally recognized certification methodology.

Improving every step of the way

For a better understanding of the innovative tanning system that generates Zero Impact leather, we have to take a look to each individual step of the tannery process.

For the first step in the production process, the un-hairing phase, an oxidative un-hairing operation has been introduced, obtained with the use of hydrogen peroxide within a special polypropylene drum that has the ability to support high temperature changes of water through a cooling water circuit. Furthermore, this technology automatically collects data and recall of receipt thanks to a specific software, and it is highly resistance against oxidizing agents. This technology furthermore enables the collection of by-products, which are reusable in the industrial, agro-industrial and energy context.

For the tanning phase, a new technology using heavy metal free tanning has been developed based on the use of enzymes and polysaccharides, which give the leather the same physical and mechanical characteristics of products that are treated with the traditional tanning.

In the re-tanning and finishing, Dani has researched and selected ad hoc products with a very low quantity of metals and, for the finishing phase, there was a selection of water-based products in order to preserve the results obtained in the previous phases.

Offsetting emissions

Beside the technological innovations, Dani has planned an long-term reforestation initiative in partnership with AzzeroCO2, with the goal of completely off setting the CO2 emitted along the production process of Zero Impact leather.

The Dani reforestation project deals with local forests in Italy and has been developed according to transparent criteria to ensure the actual existence of the forest, the correct quantification of absorption and the environmental, social and economic sustainability. Since transparency is a priority for these projects, everyone can visit the forested areas and verify the development of the project directly. Furthermore, the methodology used for the calculation of emissions absorbed by these actions is recognized by the UNFCCC (United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change).

AKU
melanie.haas@norragency.com