Here are some of the things we are working on:
- Stahl has begun projects with UNIDO (United Nations Industrial Development Organization) and PUM (a Dutch NGO, also focused on industrial development) with the objective of developing the leather industry in certain regions of the world. This will involve some Stahl employees contributing their skills and knowledge, on behalf of the organizing body, in order to create a truly sustainable leather segment in those regions. A great opportunity for Stahl to make a positive difference in the world.
- In December 2015 the ZDHC foundation (Zero Discharge of Hazardous Chemicals) published a list of restricted chemicals that must be eliminated from leather and synthetics used in footwear, accessories, clothing and so on. Known as the MRSL, the list is designed to establish an industry standard for the elimination of restricted substances. Stahl is working on this project closely with the brands and the ZDHC foundation and we published our full commitment to this initiative with a letter.
- Stahl EVO® product range designed for synthetic surfaces has been a notable success in 2015. Sales are accelerating because more and more customers are requesting products that are free of certain, identified chemical substances. The Stahl EVO® range fully complies with the recent MRSL mentioned above and our plan is to stay ahead of legislation and proactively develop the range even further.
- Stahl’s sales of Stahl EasyWhite Tan™ have also accelerated in 2015. This product meets the needs of tanners who wish to eliminate chrome from their supply chain.
- In 2016, Stahl will publish a target for the environmental indicator CO2. Several initiatives are already underway at our Manufacturing Sites that are related to this indicator.
- Stahl is pushing hard to introduce more bio-based raw materials into its polyurethane product ranges. Extracting raw materials from plants and using them to make our polymers, instead of using petroleum based raw materials, will improve our environmental footprint. Frank Brouwer is leading this quest in R&D Waalwijk and making great progress via intense cooperation with key suppliers.
- Juan Antonio Frias was appointed Stahl Campus® Manager for our activities in León, Mexico. In this role he will work closely with local customers and other partners to provide education and training for the leather process. Modules and programs, with an emphasis on sustainability, will be developed in close cooperation with Stahl Campus® Waalwijk - headed by Frans van den Heuvel. In China, we also have active training programs for technicians and students. Lead by Karin Lee, these are carried out in Guangzhou with the top leather schools & universities.