Ecco has been recognized by Outdoor Retailer for both innovation and sustainability for its DriTan leather. Tackling the issue of water scarcity, DriTan breaks the paradigm of how leather has been tanned for more than 10,000 years and is saving millions of gallons of water annually in its leather production for the brand’s footwear.
Using the moisture already present in the hides, DriTan technology produces leather that is indistinguishable from traditionally tanned leather in terms of quality, characteristics, stability and lead-time. DriTan will save Ecco 20 liters of water per hide, equal to an estimated 25 million liters of water annually—enough water to keep more than 9,000 people hydrated for one year, according to World Health Organization figures. DriTan will also eliminate 600 tons of sludge, or roughly 40 truckloads, per year from the waste stream.
“We are so honored to be recognized with this award, while also recognizing that this is just one of many steps toward more sustainable practices for our industry,” states Thomas Dixon, national sales and product manager for Ecco USA’s outdoor category. “Owning our factories, tanneries and many steps in our supply chain allows us to try new things, and it’s exciting to see sustainability truly driving innovation. There are so many innovative brands and bright leaders among the nominees and recipients of this award, and it’s important that we continue to push each other toward increasingly sustainable technologies and production.”
“Ecco started with a very simple question, how can we tan leather without water, and is it even possible?” states Thomas Gøgisg, head of Applied Research. “Since Ecco owns all of its tanneries, we recognized that we were in a unique position to make the first step in developing a more sustainable tanning process. After five years of extensive research and development, DriTan was introduced and we’ve made the first solid step towards water-free leather manufacturing. Being recognized with the Outdoor Retailer Innovation award is an incredible honor.”
DriTan technology was also recently awarded “Best of What’s New” for 2020 by Popular Science, honoring “products and technologies that represent the most significant advancements in their categories that make our lives simpler, smarter, and better.” DriTan leather will be available throughout the brand’s Spring ’20 Outdoor collection, including the launch of the Exohike collection, as well in other categories and styles. Plans to share this water-saving technology with the leather tanning industry are already underway.