Haptex: The Future of Synthetic Leather


We take a world view here as leather is a global industry, in which the raw material suppliers, brands and leather makers play a pivotal role.  As consumers are getting more learned about how leather is made, two vital points have been coming clearer over the last ten years.

First the alternate materials space is being filled with more and more high quality and interesting materials, attractive to different segments of the market. Second the very rapid increase in urbanization around the world means that huge numbers of younger consumers have not been brought up with leather as the natural choice for bags, footwear and clothing etc due to societal and sustainable issues.

BASF’s role in the leather industry

That’s why BASF has always been reinventing and improving our solutions to help leather makers and brands. One of the innovations is Haptex – the breakthrough PU solution to produce PU synthetic leather. The concept of Haptex is born out of the pursuit to surpass the everyday norms; embodying sustainability in both design and quality in your everyday applications such as furniture, footwear, automotive, apparel, and accessories.

Brands get to benefit the use of Haptex as it enables synthetic leather to have a higher peel strength, anti-yellowing, and high abrasion performance properties to achieve high performance and the desired appearance of applications using synthetic leather.

Taking sustainability in leather to the next level

BASF sees how sustainability is beyond just the key driver of change in consumer trends but also a business imperative for many brands. That is why the chemical giant took a step ahead to ensure that Haptex is safe for the environment through the lack of use of solvent, which means that there are low VOC emissions when Haptex is used. In addition, with the elimination of the wet line during the production process, Haptex helps to reduce production costs and improve manufacturing efficiency.

To further prove the sustainability benefits from Haptex, a Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) was conducted to authenticate the environmental impact.  Haptex was compared to two production pathways: solvent-based and waterborne-based synthetic leather process where Haptex has outperformed these other. Haptex produces 52% less carbon emissions that conventional PU synthetic leather with more than 20% reduction in energy consumption when using 1KG of chemicals for PU synthetic leather production. This is predominantly due to the elimination of the wet line from production processes which reduces 30% of water usage compared to usual solvent-based methods PU production methods.

To compare these figures to everyday living, this means that we if all of the leather used in 2020 which is close to 3 billion is manufactured using Haptex we could conserve water sufficient for the daily needs of 8.4 billion adults – more than the world’s total population which means 25.1 million cubic metres saved.

Haptex is also the first BASF solution to receive ECO Passport by Oeko-Tex certification – a stamp of approval that Haptex meets the green standard of ZDHC manufacturing Restricted Substances List (ZDHC MRSL) Level 3 conformance, which is the highest level in the Roadmap to Zero program.

The partnership with ZDHC represents BASF’s leadership in driving sustainability in chemicals and leather manufacturing. Through collaboration with partners, standard-setting and implementation, we are helping to protect the environment by reducing the industry’s chemical footprint across the textile, leather and footwear value chain.

Future of Leather

To this end, we acknowledge the importance of a responsible leather industry around the world. That is why we are constantly improving our materials for a more sustainable society. To support that goal, we want to cooperate with all stakeholders to share knowledge and innovations, to collectively deploy more sustainable technologies and solutions for the leather industry.

This also means that the leather industry is stepping closer to a more sustainable future and the real power of change lies with the consumer making an informed decision as well as purchases that will last longer and be disposed better.

Click here to find more about how Haptex can help create impressionable and sustainable solutions.

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