Ground has been broken on the new ecologically friendly model factory in Saigon, Vietnam of the Germany/Chinese leather producer ISA Tan Tec.
Founder and CEO Thomas Schneider gave the go-ahead for the construction of a tannery that will emit 35 percent less CO2 than conventional production facilities. This figure is derived from the plant’s CO2 footprint, which is based on the carbon dioxide emissions for each square meter of leather produced. "This is the only factory in the industry of this size that is pursuing such an ambitious environmental plan," remarked Thomas Schneider. The new tannery will start operations in June of 2009 with 280 employees producing two million square meters of high-quality leather each year.
"The demand from clients such as Timberland, New Balance, Keen, and Hush Puppies for ecologically friendly leather is increasing rapidly. That's why, in addition to our new ecological factory in China, we're building a second factory where our environmental concept will be even more thoroughly implemented," stated Thomas Schneider, head of ISA Tan Tec.
The hot water needed for the tanning process will be heated with a solar system. The solar modules also serve as roofing for the company parking lot so that the employees' motorcycles don't get so hot during the day. The facilities are surrounded by a wall of bamboo that also serves to treat waste water. Ground water is pumped out by windmills.
ISA Tan Tec also makes use of excess heat generated during production. The water heated while cooling hydraulic machinery for instance is channeled into the hot water tank. In addition, the company saves considerable amounts of energy by using state-of-the-art tanning drums and infinitely variable air compressors. Green roofs ensure a good microclimate and insulate against the high temperatures and humidity that are present most of the year in Vietnam.
ISA Tan Tec is also innovating in the area of waste water treatment. Solid-liquid separation and continual waste water recycling drastically reduce the quantity of waste water treated, further decreasing energy consumption.
The new factory will manufacture high-quality leather that meets the new LITE standards. These standards are based on calculations by the British Leather Technology Center for the average energy and water consumption of the industry — LITE products require roughly 30% less energy and 50% less water to produce. In the coming months, world-renowned shoe manufacturers including Timberland, New Balance, Keen, Reef, Hush Puppies, and Simple Shoes will be launching models made with LITE leather from ISA Tan Tec.