About NATURLEDER IVN certified

IVN has been involved in developing a standard for sustainable leather since 2001. The quality seal NATURLEDER IVN ZERTIFIZIERT certifies a high level of ecology and quality for the labeled product.

A high technical and ecolo­gical standard for the leather products it certi­fies is of prime impor­t­ance to IVN. To that end, all stages of the produc­tion chain are evaluated, begin­ning with the raw material and inclu­ding sales and usage of the finished leather (not the finished product).

A meaningful savings of resources, environ­mental and health protec­tion in both the produc­tion and usage as well as user-friendly design are bench­marks for this evalua­tion.  Both the product and its proces­sing steps are evaluated from diffe­rent perspec­tives.  Environ­mental footprint, indivi­dual hazar­dous substances as well as the disposal and/or possi­bi­li­ties of recycling are appraised and documented.  Health related issues are an important crite­rion. These are evaluated both as they relate to persons involved in produc­tion and to persons using the product.

For a copy of the specific guide­lines, download the PDF.

Summary

The quality seal NATURLEDER speci­fies a number of basic requi­re­ments for all businesses pursuing certi­fi­ca­tion. All manufac­tu­ring plants must, for example, have access to a two tier waste­water treat­ment plant, regard­less of whether their waster water is fed directly (without treat­ment) or indirectly via a waste­water treat­ment facility into surface water. GMOs or modified substances are to be avoided. As it is not possible to control for these substances, they cannot be expressly forbidden. All chemi­cals used must meet prede­ter­mined specifications.

The raw material for leather is animal skin. It is important that the animals from which these skins derive are held prima­rily for meat. This avoids additio­nally pollu­ting animal husbandry. Wild animals or species threa­tened by extinc­tion are banned as NATURLEDER products.

Before tanning, skins are preserved and cleaned. This is done with cooling and salting; chemical preser­va­tives are expressly forbidden. If tenside solutions and deter­gents are used, these must be biodegradable.

The stage of leather produc­tion that is most environ­ment­ally detri­mental and hazar­dous to health is tanning. The use of chrome tanning or processes using mineral tanning agents, both highly contro­ver­sial, are forbidden. NATURLEDER tends to use vegetable-based tanning, ie tanning based on plant-based agents, or so-called chamois leather.  As the latter tradi­tio­nally uses whale oil, a certi­fi­ca­tion of species preser­va­tion must be provided. Tanning using alumi­nium, zirco­nium or titanium are only allowed for parts of the tanning process and only if prede­fined limits speci­fied in NATURLEDER guide­lines are not exceeded.

Leather is often dyed.  As for those used for textiles, leather dyestuffs must be free of AOX and heavy metals and conform to EU ordinances. The use of vegetable dyestuffs is, of course, preferred.

Overlays and finis­hing improve both the appearance, feel and usage proper­ties of leather.  They also improve breat­ha­bi­lity.  Milling is a mecha­nical proces­sing which produces a very soft, full and pleasant handle. In this process, the dry leather is rotated on a drum and is softened through beating. A similar proces­sing is studding whereby the leather is softened by beating with vibra­ting metal pegs. This process loosens gummed tendons, leaving them flexible and supple.  As a result, the leather is pliant and has a more even surface. The use of solvent-based finishes and coatings of any kind is expressly forbidden.

Equally important for consu­mers, there are strictly defined limits for hazar­dous substances in the finished product just as there are for textiles.  These limits as well as strictly formu­lated quality standards inclu­ding fastness to rubbing and tensile strength are equal to or exceed DIN or ISO norms.

As leather goods are sourced and processed inter­na­tio­nally, the same social standards apply for all steps of the produc­tion chain of NATURLEDER  as for textiles.