Here at Saddler we have a responsibility to do everything we can to ensure that our products are manufactured in a sustainable way and with a long-term approach. It’s extremely important that all elements of our production chain have as little environmental impact as possible. Our products must not contain any substances that are harmful to humans or nature, and everyone working with and for us must have good working conditions and a pleasant working environment.
Bags and accessories are principally manufactured in India, while our belts are largely made in Italy. Wherever our suppliers are located, we are only willing to work with those who ensure working conditions that are positive for both humans and the environment.
We also have a responsibility to use our knowledge and extensive experience to influence our partners and colleagues in the fashion and leather industries in pursuing sustainable development.
The framework for our sustainability work is amfori BSCI, which regulates working conditions and social sustainability, and our RSL (Restricted Substances List), which governs product safety and chemicals.
The leather used in our production process is solely a residual product from the food industry. We are working actively to improve the traceability of our raw materials.
Hide is treated and dyed at tanneries to turn it into various types of leather. We make use of two different methods: chrome tanning and vegetable tanning.
The oldest and most natural method, which also has the least environmental impact. It uses tannins from a variety of trees and produces deep, warm colour tones in the leather. However, it is not possible to achieve clear, bright shades using this method. Our aim is to further increase our percentage of vegetable-tanned leather.
Chrome tanning uses chromium salts and is the most common method in use throughout the world. The resulting leather is soft, stretchy and water-resistant and easily absorbs dye. This is the method used at our tanneries in India and is safe for our employees if carried out correctly. It is therefore essential for us to conduct regular monitoring and checks at our tanneries. Our main Indian tannery is certified in accordance with the Leather Working Group’s standard, which regulates environmental, chemical and working environment issues. Saddler is involved in funding improvements and maintenance required for continued certification.
One challenge is managing waste from our tanneries in India. Incineration of chromium can have negative effects on the environment, and so it is essential for this environmentally hazardous waste to be handled safely. We are continually working with our suppliers to develop better waste management processes.
Dyeing is done in tanneries. Different dyeing methods are used – depending on the desired look.
Usually done in a water bath: dyes penetrate the pores, color the leather right through, and provide natural, varied finishes.
In addition to the leather being coloured through, a light pigmentation and protective finish are also added, which means that the leather’s natural appearance is preserved, but not to the same extent as with aniline-colouring.
Here, leather is painted with a pigment or a topcoat, which provides an even colour. Protective lacquer serves as a fixative.
Close cooperation with our suppliers
We have long been working to improve and ensure decent working conditions for our suppliers’ employees. We achieve this partly through signing up to initiatives such as amfori BSCI and partly by means of regular visits to our manufacturers in India and Italy to check up on working conditions and environment with our own eyes.
Our bag manufacturer in India is certified in accordance with the SA8000 standard and is working actively to ensure decent working conditions and fair pay. This standard entails continuous audits to safeguard conditions for staff.
In Italy we work with Consorzio Vera Pelle Italiana Conciata al Vegetale, a voluntary consortium aiming to promote vegetable-tanned leather and quality assurance of raw materials and tanning processes.
As a manufacturer we have a responsibility to keep a check on which chemicals are used in production of materials and accessories. In order to guarantee this, we are members of the Chemicals Group run by RISE, which is helping us to improve and tighten up the requirements we set for our suppliers.
We are constantly working to reduce the environmental impact from our transport activities. We do this in part by always opting for transport by sea rather than by air from Asia as far as possible. For all means of transport, we are working to increase the capacity utilisation and streamline the entire logistics chain in order to cut down the number of transport journeys. Throughout our transport chain we encourage hauliers who are ISO-certified, are working on fuel-saving measures and are actively switching to renewable fuels.
We are working systematically to minimise our environmental impact on people and nature, and to ensure that everyone who works with us can do so under humane and fair conditions.
Here at Saddle we feel that it is important that we take responsibility for the whole chain – from the design table to the reconditioning of what you have bought from us. To us, that is sustainability.