ORGANIC SHEEPSKINS came into being in 1996 with the certification of the process by the Biodynamic Agricultural Association, certification number 323. The Soil Association did not have standards.
Tanning sheepskins began here in 1978 but it took many, many years to work out a process that was totally environmentally friendly, without the use of toxic chemicals but with a total lack of information! No books, no web, nothing! Long chats with elderly gents and trial and error cracked it!
A number of years after BDAA certification the Soil Association consulted Nicki to lay down their own standards. Advice was given only with the proviso that the information should be treated as commercially confidential. This is why this is still the only registered organic tannery in England, no one else can come up to these exacting standards.
The word ‘ORGANIC’ is being used where there is no certification.
= No checks by a certification body
= No guarantee of purity and safe production
= Potential for abuse and the use of toxic chemicals and environmental damage.
The standards for organic tanning are commercially confidential, so how can a process claiming to be organic comply with the unknown?.
Veg tannins, such as Mimosa are by their nature a slower process than chemical and chrome processes. Certification bodies will not accept bleaches to whiten the fleece or intervention to speed up the process which would make the result cheaper but uncertifiable.
We use pure Mimosa extract from plantation grown trees in South Africa grown specifically for the purpose and no part of the tree is wasted. Only tannin from vegetable origin is environmentally friendly, nothing else is biodegradable. Mimosa gives a warm, soft, machine washable skin, with the fleece, fibre or hair as nature intended, minus the dirt and debris, which is friendly to people, babies and other animals.
We have our own reed bed which cleans our grey water and supports it’s own eco system.