Parallel to the IVN certificate for textiles, IVN works to assure a high quality standard based on a technically and ecologically advanced level for its certified leather products. Consequently the guidelines for NATURLEDER address all production stages from raw material to sale and use of the finished leather (not the finished leather products).
To request a copy of the detailed guidelines, please send an eMail.
Sparing use of resources, environmental and health protection in production and use as well as user friendly products are key requirements. The assessment of products and their production are approached from different perspectives. Everything from environmental impact and health issues for both the persons in the production process as well as those who use them, individual hazardous substances as well as their disposal and potential recycling of goods are monitored and documented.
The quality seal NATURLEDER defines a number of basic requirements for all companies opting for certification. For example, all production facilities must have access to a two-tiered sewage treatment plant independently of whether their waste water runs directly (in other words unfiltered) into bodies of water or indirectly via a sewage treatment facility. The use of substances derived from genetically modified organisms (GMO) is to be avoided. It is not possible to categorically forbid these substances as they cannot be detected. All chemicals used must meet defined specifications.
The raw material for leather is animal skin. It is important that animals whose skins are used are held primarily for meat, thus avoiding unnecessary and environmentally damaging animal husbandry. Wild or endangered animals may not be used for NATURLEDER products.
Before tanning, the skins are preserved and cleaned. This is achieved through cooling and salting, not through the use of chemical conserving agents. Should skins be cleaned with tensides and washing substances, the products used must be biodegradable.
Tanning is the process with the most hazardous potential for environment and health. The controversial use of chrome as well as tanning with mineral tanning agents is prohibited. Instead, NATURLEDER uses vegetable tanning methods or the so called „Sämisch tanning“. As the latter uses whale oil, proof of respect for species protection must be given. Tanning using aluminum, zirkonium or titan are permitted.
Leather too can be dyed. Just as with textiles, leather dyestuffs must be free of AOX and heavy metals and comply with EU regulations. The use of vegetable dyes is, of course, preferred.
Overlay or Finishing methods improve the looks and wear of leather and further its breathability. Milling is a mechanical process which achieves a soft leather quality with a attractive, full feel. This process places dry leather in a turning barrel, beating it until it mellows. The cleat method softens leather with vibrating metal cleats. This loosens the leather fibers against each other and makes them more elastic. The leather becomes supple and its surface evens out. The use of solvent finishes or coatings of any sort is prohibited.
As an important consumer concern, NATURLEDER specifies strict residue limits for hazardous substances in the finished product similar to textiles. These limits, together with the quality standards geared specifically for leather products (such as rubbing fastness and tensile strength) correspond with or exceed DIN- or ISO- norms.
As leather products are purchased and processed internationally, the same social standards apply for all production steps of NATURLEDER products as apply for textiles.