Chennai, May 19 – The Indian leather industry should move towards net-zero carbon footprint to meet environmental norms, Union Science and Technology Minister Dr Jitendra Singh said on Thursday.
In his address at the Platinum Jubilee celebrations of CSIR-Central Leather Research Institute (CLRI), he said that the carbon footprint of leather processing activity needs to approach zero levels and the bio-economy of animal skin-derived products is the new mantra of the time.
He said that the carrying capacity requirements of the leather sector in locations like Tamil Nadu demand the implementation of Zero Liquid Discharge as the enforced environmental norm, which is under discussion.
According to him, the sustainability of the leather sector is likely to emerge as the new challenge for the CLRI in its journey from platinum to the centenary.
The Minister said the new vision for leather research and industry during the next 25 years may need to be on sustainability, net-zero carbon footprint, gaining total recyclability of leather-based materials, bio-economy of animal skin-derived products, and ensuring income parity for workers, besides brand building.
Efforts are on to prepare customised footwear for Indians by using 3D technology to scan the feet of the person to prepare their footwear, he said, adding that 73 districts in the country are included to implement the project in the first phase.
He also said that leather footwear needs to be designed and developed into foot care solutions with foot hygiene and wearer comfort as the Unique Selling Properties and pointed out that diabetic footwear is one such product that ensures a better quality of life due to the reduction in the abnormal distribution of plantar foot pressure.
According to Singh, the collagen-based innovative biomaterials for applications in human health care are new opportunities and they could well become co-products of leather, if next-generation leather-making technologies avoid contaminating skin-based matrix materials with lime, sulphide, and many other sensitive chemicals.
He also expressed satisfaction that in 2021, export realisation from the leather sector is valued at Rs 40,000 crore.