Sustainability is close to our hearts, not just because the outdoors and the mountains are our stage, but because we want our boots and shoes to still be worn in 90 years’ time. This is why we’re committed to using resources efficiently, keeping transport to a minimum and working with materials that are as eco-friendly as possible.
WHAT DOES THIS MEAN IN PRACTICE:
DURABILITY has always been important to us. We’ve been making high-quality, long-lasting boots and shoes for over 90 years. And their long lives can even be extended. Thanks to their cemented construction or double stitching all our models can be resoled. Keeping the same pair of shoes is kind to resources, the environment and your wallet.
We select our MATERIALS very carefully and work with locally-produced and environmentally-friendly products when possible. Around 20 of our models are made from CO2-neutral Terracare Zero leather. We were the first manufacturer of mountain boots and trekking footwear to do so. We purchase this leather from the Heinen tannery which makes Terracare Zero in compliance with stringent environmental and social-responsibility standards. For more information visit www.terra-care.de.
We also make four models with Bio-leather uppers which means the cattle is kept in a manner that's appropriate to the species on certified bio farms. To avoid any misunderstandings, BIO Leather isn’t necessarily organic leather – it’s all about how the cattle is reared.
We also want to be honest about the adhesive we use. At the moment no eco-friendly, water-soluble adhesives exist that are suitable for making mountain and trekking boots. We do use modern ventilation systems and other methods to protect the environment. However, it would be better if the adhesive was eco-friendly. Finishing products and shaft-adhesive components are already used in the form of dispersions.
But that’s one of the projects we’re constantly working on with our partners.
HANWAG Bio models
We make three models with BIO Leather as uppers. As a lining we use chrome-free tanned leather which is non-allergenic. A footbed made of leather and cork rounds off the concept. The origin of the hides is also important, all of our BIO Leather is purchased in Croatia from the Viviani tannery. The over 80-year-old, family-run company buys the hides from around 50 Croatian smallholders with certified bio farms. This certification complies with EU standards, and means that the animals are put out to pasture the whole year round. They only receive fodder without any chemical additives and no concentrated feed is given.
Making sustainability transparent
We place huge emphasis on making the origin of the hides transparent. HACCP is the cornerstone on which transparency is based. This is a hygiene standard to protect the consumer and ensure food safety which is recognised by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the World Health Organisation. It was started for NASA and the goal was to protect astronauts from unexpected illnesses. Today it’s a concept recognised worldwide. It has become more and more important, particularly since BSE. It’s also used in canteens and restaurants. Because cattle are usually destined for food production, the standard is also applied here and it ensures safety and traceability. Where cattle farming is concerned, the purpose is to trace each and every animal from birth until it is finally used for the purpose it has been reared. The yellow buttons in the cattle’s ears are there for this reason. Together with our partner Viviani we carry on the process and also monitor what happens to the hides.
Please note: We’re not in the business of green washing here. The leather is a biological product, but the three new shoes aren't truly organic products – not yet anyway! There are too many components and processes involved in manufacturing high-quality mountain boots that aren’t green yet. But we’re convinced that using hides from bio cattle is a step in the right direction – towards sustainability. And we’re working hard on the next phases.