We like to think that whoever buys our products is a conscious user of authentic and functional manufactured goods, not simply a final consumer of stuff. A respectful ethical product, with real value made to last in time.
We all can contribute to a better future, for both the natural environment and the social community.
On the industrial operation’s side the company is committed to finding low impact solutions and offering maximum transparency regarding the product’s origin. On the community side AKU supports projects to connect people and mother nature, with a special eye on nature meant as working environment.
When it comes to the PRODUCT, AKU is committed to finding design and production solutions that have a reduced environmental impact, while keeping the quality and technical functions of the product intact.
We therefore pay particular attention to the SAFETY and ORIGIN of the raw material, as well as to the REGENERATION and REUSE of various product components.
AKU’s commitment to shortening the supply chain has resulted in the company concentrating more than 85% of its production in company-owned facilities in Italy and Romania, thereby limiting the environmental impact caused by the transport of goods. It is also possible to trace the geographical origin of 100% of the product components—raw material and semi-finished parts, guaranteeing the user complete transparency.
Relevant research is aimed at reducing or completely eliminating the main chemical substances that are potentially harmful for the health of man and of the environment. One of the most important objectives the company has currently set itself with regard to the safety of the raw material is to use DANI - SUSTAINABLE LEATHER, obtained through a certified process of chromefree tanning and retanning of full grain hides from European cattle. The product test recently carried out by the German foundation Stiftung Warentest on an old favourite of ours, the model Trekker Lite II GTX, also highlighted the low impact of the product’s main components–hide, fabric and felt–which are shared with approximately 50% of the models in our collection.
Dani Sustainable Leather Chrome Free - The leathers of Dani Sustainable Leather come with certificates attesting that the nubuck leather used is of Italian origin, especially treated to be fully waterproof and breathable, processed in compliance with the European standards for environmental protection.The final result is a highly aesthetic product, which is at the same time rich in technical content intended to grow with time and use.
One of the areas that AKU is focusing on in the design stage is the use of recycled materials as new product components. This is already a well-established practice for certain categories of the collection and in no way compromises the quality and functionality of the product. The MOUNTAIN INSPIRED collection’s urban use models, for example, have outsoles made with 30% of recycled rubber and midsoles made with 20% of recycled EVA, suitably treated to ensure they are reliable and long-lasting.
Vibram Eco Step - The ECO STEP outsole of Bellamont Plus is made by Vibram® using recycled rubber. AKU, working together with a specialised supplier, manufactures the midsole in Italy by regenerating pressed EVA production waste, in a percentage equal to 20% of the total compound.
AKU is continuously seeking ways to increase energy efficiency and decrease waste in its operations. Here are some of our current projects.
Packaging re-use and methods
At this stage our project is concentrated on the packaging used in shipping to our Italian customers. Later on we will extend this process to all the other markets where particular attention will be paid to problems arising from the shipment itself as well as to the environmental impact tied to the dispatch of the packaging faced by our customer once he receives our shipments.
Practically we substituted the shrink wrapping plastic packaging with recycled cartons. This way we managed to stop using high environmental impact material (plastic) and at the same time we reduced significantly electricity consumption and CO2 released by the packaging process. For quite some time we have been using cardboard for our shoe boxes and paper for the protective tissue paper inside – both green and recyclable materials. Trying to reduce our environmental impact even more we have started collecting, storing and using cartons which we in turn receive from our suppliers. Some simple numbers show to what extent we are reducing the environmental impact and how sustainable the new process is. Presently we ship into the Italian market during a calendar year 15.000 cartons that means about 3.500 shipments. The following numbers prove how we have cancelled the use of high environmental impact material and electricity reducing at the same time the CO2 being released.
Use of shrink wrap plastic
Before = 2.500 kg/year | After = 0 —> Reduction = -100%
Electricity consumption (shrink wrapping machine)
Before = 30.500 kw/year | After = 0 —> Reduction = -100%
Plastic production (2.500 kg/year) = 15 tons/year
Electricity production (30.500 kw/year) = 17 tons/year
Reduction CO2 released = -32 tons/year
One of the major goals of tracking the efficiency of our production plants is to reduce electricity consumption used for running most of the appliances and reducing the amount of CO2 emissions.
We are still working on the project which will be divided into two phases according the characteristics of these appliances. At first we will register and monitor information on temperature operating devices (heating and refrigerating processes).
Thereafter we will work on air pressure operating machines or with other measurable characteristics. In both cases we want to check that electricity consumption does not exceed set standards and if this should occur, we will either fix it or change/remove the appliance.