Paradigm Shift for an Environmentally Conscious Tanning Sector

  • Roberto Liberi University of Campania "Luigi Vanvitelli"
  • Valentina Alfieri University of Campnia “Luigi Vanvitelli”
  • Silvestro Di Sarno University of Campania "Luigi Vanvitelli"


The tanning industry has always been one of the sectors with the highest environmental impact due to CO2 emissions, the chemicals used and the huge consumption of water in production processes. But today, a paradigm shift is taking place whereby even the tanning industry is adopting low environmental impact production strategies and new communication channels to disseminate the social, environmental and economic values/objectives pursued by the tanning sector in response to a misperception of the leather production system by consumers.

Today, the largest fashion brands are shifting their attention to sustainable tanning production that focuses on a natural, vegetable-based tanning process that generates a metal-free and bisphenol-free type of leather/leather, and even biodegradable leather in some cases. The Solofra tanning district in Italy is one of the innovative districts in the sector, both creatively and in terms of research. It is precisely the constant research behind the production processes that has made it possible to arrive at a type of leather with a low environmental impact with qualities comparable to chrome-tanned leather. Furthermore, there are many companies that, in recent years, have experimented and perfected alternative materials with characteristics similar to those of animal skin but totally natural, obtained from plants, bacteria and fruit and vegetable waste. The path of evolution towards a conscious and sustainable tanning industry system is only at the beginning, but the paradigm shift is already underway.