The first-of-a-kind leather product uses fewer natural resources, less energy and fewer finishing products



Following two years of research and development, JBS Couros, the world’s largest leather processing company, has developed a new manufacturing process that uses 54.2% less water and 20% less energy and reduces shipping CO2 emissions by 65%. The process is more sustainable for a number of reasons, including the way the leather is processed, which only uses those parts of the skin that are best suited for making leather, unlike the traditional approach, which processes the entire skin.



“We pay close attention to what the market requires and we want to help create a more positive future for society. By developing this innovative process, we are fulfilling our role as market leaders and driving progress across the entire global leather industry”, said Roberto Motta, President of JBS Couros.



In addition to using fewer natural resources, the new process also uses fewer products for finishing (28% less than the traditional process) and generates 45% less cutting line trimming waste compared with other products currently available in the market.



“We have improved the way the leather is processed to produce a high-quality product while avoiding waste and using fewer products to treat the raw material”, said Fernando Bellese, Marketing and Sustainability manager at JBS Couros. The company has filed a patent for the new process, which has been branded Kind Leather.



The new process boosts productivity from leather cutting machines and finishing plants and guarantees more ergonomic working conditions. JBS Couros carried out productivity tests in partnership with companies involved in the leather cutting process, focusing on the automotive market, showing the new system improves yields by up to 10% compared with the traditional industry models. Another benefit of this sustainable leather is that natural hide components which were previously discarded, or turned into goods offering little added value after processing, can now be used elsewhere to make food items, such as bovine collagen, or beauty products.



“The development process was demand oriented and plan to cater to future requirements of society and consumer industries, such as the automotive industry”, explained Bellese. “Through innovation and by making intelligent use of resources and raw materials, the process offers a number of significant environmental, social and economic benefits, resulting in a highly durable, organic product”.



Kind Leather also has other sustainability benefits: JBS Couros is the industry’s only company with a traceability program, which gathers data throughout the leather production chain, from the farm to the end product. JBS Couros is the industry’s only company offering this level of production chain visibility, combining a robust leather traceability program with a modern monitoring system that oversees and verifies more than 80 thousand cattle suppliers in Brazil, ensuring they comply with the social and environmental standards set out in the Company’s Responsible Raw Material Procurement Policy. The system monitors a wide range of issues, from deforestation of native forest on indigenous land, in environmental conservation areas or areas embargoed by the Brazilian Institute for the Environment and Natural Resources (IBAMA), to ensuring suppliers do not employ child or slave labor.