The importance of fighting disinformation and the need to innovate. These are the main themes addressed in the round table during SoLeather, an event organized by the Municipality of Solofra and Unic Concerie Italiane together with Lineapelle . For over five centuries Solofra has been one of the main tanning centers of Made In Italy. Specialized in the tanning and treatment of sheep and goat skins, it extends over an area of 115 square kilometers where approximately 141 companies operate for a total of approximately 1800 employees and a turnover of around 220 million euros, 60% deriving from exports.
“The sector is in good health – declared Fabrizio Nuti , president of Unic Italian tanneries, during the meeting moderated by journalist Mariella Milani – but there are still some rebounds resulting from Covid. It is a sector that lives on events, travel, exhibitions and becomes active when people move. Our made in Italy is unrivaled, my concern focuses instead on communicating sustainability. Our raw material represents 50% of the finished product. Which industry starts from waste? Tanning uses waste to which we add recovery and treatments, we have reached 95% reuse and recycling, but the consumer doesn't know this. For those who do this job it seems obvious but it isn't. Communication has become important, we need closeness on the part of the institutions and administrations, to make known the activities implemented for sustainability because the further we move away from the local context, the less we know".
Fulvia Bacchi , CEO of Lineapelle and general director of Unic Concerie Italiane, explained: “Very little is known about the tanning industry: not an animal is killed to make leather, waste from slaughter and the food industry is used. We think of tanneries as dilapidated places but they are not, there is the concept of a polluting industry that we struggle to combat but I believe that these attacks hide marketing aspects to promote alternative materials that have nothing to do with leather. Leather is a natural and organic material that has advantages that these materials cannot have. The materials that criticize leather are called 'vegan leather' and 'eco-leather', since 2020 the words 'leather' and 'cuoio' cannot be used for materials that are not leather and we are fighting for a European law that still gives more guarantees. I also want to underline the social role that our businesses have in the area, the efforts to maintain jobs even during Covid, the attention to women who enter the tanning industry and also hold managerial roles".
“The Italian tanning industry has had a research institute for around 140 years, which means that the product is continuously innovated – declared Edoardo Imperiale , general director of the Stazione Sperimentale research institute for the leather industry -. Transforming a waste into an iconic and beautiful object is not magic, there is workmanship and research in the production processes. Research is an important lever for communication, it must be explored in depth to demonstrate that there is adaptability from what comes from it. Entrepreneurs finance the institute, there are the most important companies that represent 75% of the turnover and there are also 1300 small companies, this year our magazine turns one hundred years old".
“We all have a leather item produced in Solofra – stated Beppe Angelini , buyer and owner of the Sugar boutique in Arezzo -. Although sustainability is a very current topic, the end customer is still not attentive, only the youngest give value to sustainability. There is also the factor where leather comes at difficult prices to sell. The leather works and is liked but we need to go back and review the prices." Also taking part in the meeting were the mayor of Solofra Nicola Moretti , the tanning entrepreneurs Felice Maffei ( Carisma ), Gaetano De Maio ( Derma ) and Mario De Maio ( Dmd ).
After the meeting, a special evening was set up in Piazza San Rocco hosted by Jo Squillo , in addition to some interventions by public officials and professionals, the creations of Mario Dice, Alessandro De Benedetti, Cassell, Osci Lab and Luisa Atelier were paraded.