The Tuscan leather district embraces sustainability. The interview with Samuele Giglioli

The Tuscan tanning district is an area with a long tradition in leather manufacturing, but also an area in which more and more investment is being made in innovation and environmental sustainability.

Samuele Giglioli, Biodermol's commercial technician, fits into this context. We asked him to tell us about his professional career, the challenges and goals he has set for himself in his activity at Biodermol, and how he is helping to make production of increasingly ecological and sustainable leather in the area of the Tuscan tanning district.

How did your journey within the tanning industry begin?
My professional career begins in San Miniato, a city in the province of Pisa known for its tanning industry. I studied chemistry at the Carlo Cattaneo Technical Institute and specialized in the tanning sector. After finishing my studies, I started working as a sales technician in the area until 2019. Then, after the arrival of the pandemic, I discovered Biodermol, which at the time was looking for technicians to employ both in Veneto and in Tuscany. I decided to respond to the ad and to join the company, with the aim of proposing alternative technologies for tanning, based on biological processes.

Tell us about your role at Biodermol, what do you do and what challenges are you facing?
My position in Biodermol is that of manager of the technical sales service in the Tuscany area, in particular within the tanning district which includes the areas of Santa Croce Sull'Arno, San Miniato, Castelfranco di Sotto and Fucecchio.
Before joining the company, Biodermol was already present in the area, but with a different service, managed directly from the Lavis headquarters.
My job consists in proposing new technologies in a context with a strong tanning tradition, which sometimes struggles to experiment with new products and alternative processes. The challenge is to focus on the tanneries of the biggest fashion brands, supply chains that lead the way towards change and innovation.
Biodermol mainly deals with the sale of products for the initial stages of tanning, which are also the most polluting. Our goal is to reduce the use of chemical agents harmful to the environment and to those who work closely with it. It is a very stimulating job, as it allows us to accompany the tanning industry towards the ecological transition. Since I joined Biodermol, about a year and a half, I have been able to see the small steps we are taking to improve these industrial processes and at the same time meet the needs of the consumer, who are looking for increasingly greener products.

Today we tend to think that alternative materials to leather are a more sustainable solution, but we know that's not quite the case.
Leather is a material obtained from the food industry and represents the enhancement of a waste that would otherwise be thrown away. It is precisely for this reason that the tanning industry exists, to transform this material into something useful and lasting.
It is important to make it clear that alternatives to leather are not sustainable at all. Conversely, the use of petroleum and chemical industry to produce synthetic materials such as plastics are the real threat to the environment.

How do you manage customer relationships and how do you try to meet their needs?
In my job it is essential to maintain a close and continuous relationship with customers. I always try to offer maximum support and constant dialogue with the rest of the team to get feedback from a technical point of view through the analyzes carried out in the laboratory. Everyone plays their part to carry forward the common goal of making tanning ever more eco-sustainable.


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