Cervo Volante’s sustainability philosophy
Cervo Volante’s declared goal is to offer highly aesthetic leather products with the best compatibility for people and the environment. To achieve this, we apply our knowledge as biologists, chemists, designers and leather experts and use our many years of experience in business. For Cervo Volante, sustainability means producing in line with nature, being economically successful and ensuring fair working conditions for all those involved in the sourcing and production chain. For Cervo Volante, sustainability is therefore not an option, but the starting point of all considerations. It is the basis for a mindful, responsible and beautiful life.
Sustainability in practice
We have invested a lot of time and brainpower in each product to be able to use our natural leather perfectly with all its facets, to minimize waste and offcuts and to showcase nature in the best possible way with design and form. We have examined all components of shoes and accessories for their ecological footprint and whenever possible sought and used environmentally friendly, natural, plastic-free, degradable alternatives:
Outsole, insole, lining, reinforcements, shoe laces, zipper, sewing thread, shoe box… We can assure you, it’s not a stroll in the woods, but a strenuous mountain tour and sometimes a ridge walk. In concrete terms, this means convincing the producer to adjust his sewing machine because our natural yarn thread bears less tension than the synthetic standard; winning over the shoemaker for a test with coconut fiber insoles; explaining to the leather manufacturer that our leathers are perfect, even though they have shot holes and show traces of wild deer life….
Sustainability in all components
Leather – The basis of Cervo Volante
We exclusively use leather from wild and sustainably hunted ungulates in Switzerland. Currently, we use almost exclusively red deer that have been shot in the cantons of Grisons, Valais, St. Gallen, Berne and others within the framework of the strictly regulated patent or district hunting. About 15’000 deer are shot every year as part of population regulation, and the hides are mostly disposed of. We use and refine this valuable but fire-doomed raw material. For individual shoe linings we work with roe deer skin. Here, the amount of waste in Switzerland is even more impressive, as over 40’000 roe deer are shot and their hides burned every year.
With leather from nature, we massively reduce the ecological footprint compared to cowhide or calfskin from agricultural breeding: No climate-damaging, additional methane emissions, no fertilizer input into the landscape.
We allow the raw hides to air-dry, thus eliminating the need for large amounts of salt during preservation. We have developed our own tanning recipe and process with the last two Swiss tanneries. In doing so, we completely dispense with the usual rapid heavy metal tanning with chrome. The vast majority of vegetable tanned leathers available today are pre-tanned chemically with toxic synthanes or glutardialdehyde, which are harmful to aquatic organisms. We do without them. Instead, we tan directly and exclusively with vegetable substances in the tanning barrel. We prefer to use hand-collected Valonea acorns from the Mediterranean region as tanning agents.
For each component of a shoe model we test sustainable, nature-based and biodegradable alternatives:
Laces: Austrian wood fiber-based lyocell (tencel) or cotton. Often special requests for GOTS certified organic cotton are not possible due to our still too small quantities.
Shank: Made of wood instead of plastic or metal (welted shoes).
Reinforcements: Cervo Volante red deer leather (light reinforcement); vegetable tanned cowhide; Coco-caoutchouc textile; recycled cotton rubber textile.
Outsoles: Pure pit-tanned Italian cowhide (not possible with deerskin); pure caoutchouc hand-cast in France (sneakers and the like); leather and latex (caoutchouc vulcanized with sulfur); EVA (desert boot, currently no good alternative found, recycled content still very low).
Insoles: Coconut caoutchouc (sneakers etc.); deerskin with foamed heel pad (synthetic, rubber alternative unaffordable).
Lining leather: red deer or roe deer leather or vegetable tanned sheep/goat leather
Warming lining: fox fur from sustainable, strictly regulated Swiss hunting, purely vegetable tanned in Switzerland.
Sewing thread: cotton or synthetic where not otherwise possible
Zipper: recycled PET
Sewing thread: recycled PET
Zipper: recycled PET
Metal: Avoid metal wherever possible or use the smallest possible parts. Handmade copper parts from a Swiss forge have caused verdigris (green rust) with our acidic leather. Nickel-free is legal standard.
Padding: Swiss sheep’s wool (backpack straps etc.)