With consumers ranking sustainability as a top priority, Antonio Battaglia, Director of the Leather Business Unit at Silvateam, knew it was time for something different — something better for us and the planet.
So he and his colleagues at Silvateam launched the Ecotan project. Developed with some of the world’s best tanneries, Ecotan is the first truly bio-circular, recyclable leather with a proven path back to nature. The Ecotan project follows leather throughout its circle of life:
Ecotan formulations start with nature using plant-based tannins that are extracted simply and using sustainable sourced resources. Silvateam applied human ingenuity to combine tannins with harmless man-made additives to create something entirely new.
Ecotan’s nature-based approach results in leathers that match the performance bar set by traditional tanning while avoiding dangerous ingredients. The result is a tanning system that is safe, green and clean.
The leather is designed for a next life as a fertilizer for organic farming, enriching nature instead of creating problems for us and the planet.
So instead of your sneakers being tossed into a landfill at the end of their life, they instead can be used to help grow your food.
“The attention towards sustainable materials is huge at the moment,” Antonio says. “There are many fashion houses that are already developing prototypes of footwear and bags with Ecotan tanned leathers that I hope we will soon see in shop windows.”
Ecotan leathers are metal-free and glutaraldehyde-free, as well as avoiding any substance listed in the ZDHC Manufacturing Restricted Substances List (MRSL) to ensure the safety of both tanners and consumers.
Over 20 of the top tanneries in the world have joined the project and are ready to supply Ecotan leathers. Together, they can supply finished leather on almost every raw material commonly used, including all types of bovine, lambskin and goat hides.
After studying economics and philosophy at University of San Andres, Harvard College and University of Pisa, Antonio joined Silvateam, his family’s business, in 1997. In 2021, he received the YPO Sustainability Italy prize and in 2022 he received an Italian Sustainability Award for being in the top 50 Italian companies for sustainability.