Londonderry, NH, February 24, 2020 — ECCO, the leading family-owned global footwear brand, has been recognized by Outdoor Retailer for both innovation and sustainability for its DriTan™ technology. Tackling the issue of water scarcity head-on, DriTan breaks the paradigm of how leather has been tanned for over ten thousand years and is saving millions of gallons of water annually in its leather production for the brand’s premium 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. Plans to share this water-saving technology with the leather tanning industry are already underway.
“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. 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,” said Thomas Dixon, national sales and product manager for ECCO USA’s outdoor category, who received the award. “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.”
Developed at its head tannery in the Netherlands, and rolled out to its other three company-owned tanneries, 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 WHO figures. DriTan will also eliminate 600 tons of sludge, or roughly 40 truckloads, per year from the waste stream.
“ECCO started with a very simple question, how can we tan leather without water, and is it even possible?” says Thomas Gøgisg, Head of Applied Research, ECCO. “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 upcoming Spring 2020 Outdoor line, including the launch of Ecco’s Exohike collection, as well in other categories and styles produced by the global footwear brand.
About ECCO: ECCO is one of the world’s leading shoe brands, combining style and comfort. ECCO’s success is built on products with a great fit and top-quality leathers. ECCO owns and manages every aspect of the value chain from tanneries and shoe manufacturing to wholesale and retail activities. ECCO’s products are sold in 90 countries from over 2,200 ECCO shops and more than 14,000 sales points. ECCO is family-owned, founded in Denmark in 1963, and employs more than 21,000 people worldwide. ecco.com