MILAN, Italy – A pop-culture figure reportedly once said, “It’s not easy being green.” As a multinational corporation on a mission to conduct its business sustainably, Alcantara would reply, “it may not be easy, but it is rewarding!”
As a material, Alcantara® does not fit into any existing product categories. It is an innovative material, the result of a unique and proprietary process. Used to cover surfaces and shapes, it offers an extraordinary combination of sensory, aesthetic and functional values. Alcantara is the personification of the ethical and social awareness that characterizes contemporary lifestyles – the lifestyles of those who want to fully enjoy the products they use on a daily basis.
Our trademarked material is up to 50-percent lighter and more environmentally friendly than leather, with benefits that include better durability, grip, breathability and it is 100% carbon neutral.
As a company, Alcantara is also unique. We believe in the importance of protecting our planet’s environment and reducing our carbon footprint as much as possible to make “the good life” possible for current and future generations. We are committed to producing an exceptional luxury product that is well respected by industry and highly desired by consumers.
Alcantara is the first Italian company and among the very first companies in the world to achieve the status of Carbon Neutrality. Since 2009, we have published our own Sustainability Report, which provides transparency for everything we do. We also have worked to build a supply chain that focuses on responsible procurement. We believe our commitment to sustainability supports our ongoing efforts to increase the company’s financial value.
Our goal is to be able to produce the material from totally bio-based products by 2022. We are monitoring worldwide research and as soon as bio-based product would be available, we will use it. Our support of sustainability resonates with our customers, as well. Because of the growing demand for our Italian-made luxury material, use of Alcantara within the auto industry has grown by 15 percent or more in each of the past seven years, compared to a two-percent growth rate for leather. Our material, which has been popular among automotive designers in Europe for years, also is gaining an appreciation among design communities in North America and Asia, in part because of our strong commitment to sustainability and our material’s physical qualities.
Although the global auto industry today accounts for about 80 percent of Alcantara’s business, we see a growing presence for the company within a variety of other sectors, including fashion, home-interior design, aviation and especially in the field of consumer electronics. Microsoft, adidas, Cappellini, Ligne Roset, Max-Mara, Sennheiser and Swarovski are among the many brands that have incorporated our material into their product lines. Alcantara today is a global, lifestyle brand that has strong appeal for environmentally conscious consumers.
Because of strong demand for our products, we recently launched a five-year investment, 300-million-euro expansion program to double the company’s overall production capacity. It will be available starting from the 2Q 2019. Our brand value also is expected to triple from 100 million euros to 300 million euros over the same period.
About the Author
Andrea Boragno is the Chairman and CEO of Alcantara S.p.A. based in Milan, Italy. He also is Vice President of Fondazione Italia Giappone, an organization set up to explore and develop relations between Italy and Japan through cultural, scientific and economic initiatives. He joined Alcantara S.p.A., which belongs to Toray Industries Inc., in 1990. Managing director of Alcantara since 2004 and chairman of the company since 2006, he became senior director of Toray Industries Inc. in June 2007.