Ecco Leather Group has officially opened the doors of a “high-tech” leather cutting factory in Xiamen, China, to supplement its existing tannery, transforming the area into the epicenter of the footwear brand’s leather production.
Ecco described the new facility as among the “most advanced cutting plants in the world,” equipped with both “state-of-the-art” technology and boasting a carefully managed environmental footprint.
“In continuation of Ecco Leather’s longstanding efforts to minimize the environmental impact, the new plant has been equipped with highly efficient rooftop photovoltaic solar panels, providing renewable energy,” the company said, describing the new facility as a “center of leather cutting excellence.”
Additionally, due to an obligation with one of Ecco’s most important customers, the facility’s rooftop panels will generate enough power not only to keep the factory running but also to be able to export excess energy to the nearby tannery. The factory design and cutting machinery were all specifically chosen to maximize the facility’s energy usage while “maximizing the utilization of leather material,” Ecco said.
According to the brand, the new building will encompass 7,134 square meters of surface area, of which 4,569 square meters will be covered by solar panels with the capacity to produce 959,450 kilowatt hours per year. At that rate of power consumption, the factory is expected to produce more than three times as much power as it is expected to consume.
The Ecco complex is located approximately 22 miles from Xiamen Island in southern China. In 2005, the brand established a footwear factory there, adding the tannery in 2008 and commencing leather-cutting production in earnest in 2015.
Ecco has implemented several water-saving programs to minimize its environmental impact, such as its Dri-Tan technology, for example. In September 2018, Ecco announced Dri-Tan as the first step “towards water-free leather manufacturing, “as it used the water found within the leather itself for moisture instead of relying on outside sources—significantly reducing water consumption during tanning.
With the opening of the leather cutting facility in Xiamen, the Danish footwear brand now employs roughly 3,200 people in China.