Spinnova and ECCO leather partner KT Trading create new circular textile made from leather waste

Like textile - but real leather

Janne Poranen, Spinnova CEO and co-founder

This is a concrete example of the fact that we have a technology that can use multiple different feedstocks.

Imagine a fibre made from leather waste. This is the result of a new partnership between the sustainable natural material company Spinnova and KT Trading - the leather partner to global premium-quality shoe brand ECCO.

Possessing the natural durability of leather and the light weight and feel of a traditional textile, it introduces a new category of sustainable and circular textiles that can set new standards for the industry when pilot scale production starts at the end of 2021.

The textile industry is constantly searching for new, sustainable, and circular materials. Following thorough research and testing, Spinnova and KT Trading have succeeded in developing a natural leather fabric made from leather waste without harmful chemicals.

- Leather is an amazing high-quality material with unique properties. With this new textile, we have taken yet another step towards completing the circular economy for leather, says Kristian Geert Jensen, CEO of KT Trading, who now has a joint venture with Spinnova.

Spinnova CEO: Sustainable innovation at its best
Together with KT Trading, ECCO’s key leather provider, Spinnova has established the Respin company - a new joint venture. The partners are already constructing a leather fibre production pilot plant in Finland.

- We are delighted to close the leather loop with our partners. This is not just about upcycling, but also creating a promising new material that the industry has been waiting for. This is also a concrete example of the fact that we have a technology that can use multiple different feedstocks, comments Spinnova’s CEO and co-founder Janne Poranen.

ECCO’s Applied Research division and Spinnova have been in a R&D collaboration since 2018 and have made successful trials with spinning the protein biomass into fibre. Processing leather raw material does not require further technology development from Spinnova. The company already has proof of concept from using the method on wood-based raw material.

- We have a great collaboration with ECCO and KT Trading. They both have an innovative mindset, high expertise and sustainability ambitions like us. Together, we can turn leather waste into a circular material and set new industry standards, Poranen adds.

KT Trading: Respin can take leather to the next level
Headquartered in Switzerland, KT Trading is an international company responsible for sourcing the raw material for leather. KT Trading is amongst the largest entities in the industry, collaborating across a global network including acting as the primary leather partner and supplier to global shoe brand ECCO.

- Our partnership with Spinnova combined with the support from ECCO gives us a unique opportunity to be frontrunners in our industry. The pioneering spirit that characterises both KT Trading, Spinnova and ECCO, continues to fuel our passion for technological innovation, and with Respin, we have made a truly unique breakthrough in the way, we bring leather making to the next level, says Geert Jensen.

About Spinnova – Makers of the most sustainable, natural textile materials.

Spinnova transforms the way textiles are manufactured globally. Based in Finland, Spinnova has developed breakthrough technology for making textile fibre out of wood or waste, such as textile or food waste, without harmful chemicals. The patented SPINNOVA® fibre creates 0% waste or side streams, 0% microplastics and has minimal CO2 emissions and water use. SPINNOVA® materials are quickly biodegradable and circular. Spinnova is committed to using only sustainable raw materials such as FSC certified wood.

Spinnova has been awarded e.g. World Changing Idea and Innovation by Design by the Fast Company, Sustainability Achievement of the year by the ISPO, Scandinavian Outdoor Award twice and Best Material of the Monocle Design Awards 2021.


About KT Trading

KT Trading, the leather partner to ECCO, was founded in 1999 in Switzerland and specialises in the global sourcing and trading of materials for the leather industry. The company is focused on servicing the leather sector with an efficient supply chain and high-quality products, including wetblue, crust, and finished leather. KT Trading’s expertise in raw materials, combined with an extended global supply chain, offers a unique opportunity for tanneries and leather buyers around the world to source tailor-made solutions for their needs.


About ECCO

ECCO is one of the world’s leading shoe brands, combining style and comfort. ECCO’s success is built on top-quality leathers and innovative technology. ECCO is a highly responsible company that owns and manages every aspect of the value chain from leather and shoe manufacturing to wholesale and retail activities. ECCO’s products are sold in 89 countries from over 2,180 ECCO shops and more than 14,000 sales points. Founded in Denmark, ECCO is family-owned and has been moving people since 1963. The company employs 21,400 people worldwide.