Batu tannery in Ethiopia develops environmentally sustainable, metal-free tanned leathers

Batu tannery in Ethiopia develops environmentally sustainable, metal-free tanned leathers
Batu tannery in Ethiopia develops environmentally sustainable, metal-free tanned leathers

Are you looking for leathers that are produced with respect for the environment? Most international fashion brands and retailers are. Ethiopian tannery Batu develops sustainable, metal-free tanned cow leathers for its customers all over the world. Batu is a proud member of the international Green Tanning Initiative.

Batu Tannery PLC is a privately owned tannery in Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia. The company prides itself in tanning high quality cowhides and to a lesser extent sheepskin and goatskin for customers in the region and in the US, Asia and Europe. Batu's high-quality leather is used for footwear uppers, gloves, purses, luggage, garments and belts.  

Metal-free, sustainable leather

Besides producing high-quality chrome and vegetable tanned leathers, Batu is a member of the Green Tanning Initiative. In this initiative Batu is partnering with Stahl, Solidaridad and MVO Nederland to develop metal-free cowleather, that is produced using less water, energy and salts and no chrome or other metals and no sulphide. This type of leather is relatively easy on the environment by producing less waste.  

Batu tannery has a capacity of processing 3000 sheep skins, 1000 goat skin & 1200 cowhides per day. The minimum order quantity for a finished leather product is 2000S.ft per article/size/colour and lead times range from 20-30 days after confirmation.  

Batu tannery is owned by General Manager Tatek Yirga and Deputive Manager Ephrem Yirga. It is established in 1992, with the objective of capitalizing the market potential of the leather Industry in Ethiopia. 

The tannery is exporting its finished leather products to customers like Caleres, Huajian and Sseko in Europe, Asia, the USA and Africa. The tannery is specifically looking to expand its market in the USA, Europe and Africa.  

The tannery is recognized by Quality Management System (QMS) Certified ISO 9001:2015 and it is working towards the standardization of processing facilities with the LWG-Bronze rating. Batu is also working with the Tannery of the Future checklist on sustainable leather production.  

What is 'green tanning'?

Chrome vs metal-free Despite modern production methods, chrome tanning can still have a huge impact on the environment and people (workers of the tanneries, people leaving in the nearby communities and customers). Batu has implemented state-of-the-art chrome recycling techniques and a water treatment plant.  

The solution is to produce 'green leathers' whose environmental impact would be reduced by 95% compared to conventional chrome leathers. The term 'green' leather refers to leather that is totally free of harmful chemicals, most importantly: chrome and sulphide.

Sulphide is used in all tanning methods, both vegetable and chrome tanning; chrome is not used in vegetable tanning. Therefore, there are two forms of green leather: vegetable tanning with sulphides and vegetable tanning free of chrome and sulphides.  

Currently Batu offers partially green leathers. It is testing in bulk fully green leather as it is more encompassing of environmental and health benefits. Batu has already carried out considerable research and investment on its options and has seen preliminary results for chrome (but not sulphides) free leathers that can match regular chrome-based leather in quality.  

Batu’s goal is to extend its chrome free leather range to cow hides and to produce fully green leathers, eliminating the use of all harmful chemicals (chrome and sulphides) to reduce the impact of tanning on the environment and the people producing it.
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