SUSTAINABILITY


 

Sustainability

 
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The Philosophy behind

In response to the growing urban existence, Terhi Pölkki emphasizes craftsmanship, timeless design and environmental consciousness in her work.

The core of our sustainability thinking arises from longevity. To achieve that, we want to make shoes where beautiful, timeless design and long-lasting high quality materials meet.


The Design process

Terhi chooses to reinvent design rather than constantly producing new items. 

Terhi’s designs are carving out a new definition of sustainable luxury, refined craft.

Her frequent visits to the factory ensure the best materials, the fitting and the high quality for our customers.

Terhi's shoe design process

  1. Design aesthetic and colours of the season 
  2. Fitting, lasts and comfort
  3. Choosing the best high quality materials


Terhi's design philosophy starts from practicality. We think that using shoes for a long time guarantees also sustainability. So shoes need to look nice and feel comfortable or otherwise they will be left unused. We make the ecological decisions for the customer already when designing the shoes. 

Along the visits we keep in touch with the factory owner and the people working there in a daily basis and they have become a very important part of our family of shoes.

 

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Made in Europe

Our leather shoes are manufactured in a family-owned factory in Sao Joao da Madeira, Portugal, very close to Porto city. 

Portugal was a natural choice for Terhi because of the high-quality of craftsmanship and a long history in shoe making. The factory is committed to operate with the Terhi Pölkki brand's sustainable guidelines and values.

The shoes are made by using locally sourced components and leather materials. We are constantly developing new ways of making our shoes better and more sustainable.

The main leather tannery is in Alcanena town. There we source all of our vegetable tanned leather which is called "OakLeather." All rubber soles are sourced from the supplier that is located only 15 minutes away from the factory in Oliveira de Azeméis. Both of the suppliers are trusted partners since the brand was established in 2011. All shoes are manufactured from materials and raw materials approved by EU legislation.

The Anton rain boots are manufactured in Slovakia, Europe, and our contract manufacturer is EN ISO 9001 quality management certified and 14001 environmental management certified. 

Our shoes are manufactured in the  experienced factories who offer good work conditions for their employees.

 

The Materials

We want our shoes to be worn for a long time. Timeless design and good materials will guarantee that our shoes are comfortable and durable.

Our main material is a byproduct cow leather from the meat industry. Leather is a durable, breathable and high quality shoe material. By caring for it right, it is also long-lasting, and therefore reduces the environmental impact of our products.

All the vegetable tanned leather we use in our shoes comes from Portugal. The weatherproof suede we use in Autumn collections comes from Oehler tannery in Germany. 

Autumn 2020 we launched new innovative materials such as rewool - recycled felt that is made in Montemurlo, Italy. The sole material that consists 30% coffee beans and 70% natural rubber is produced locally in Portugal.

The Anton rain boot is made of 100% natural rubber. The production process uses renewable natural rubber resources and all leftover material is recycled back into the process. 

 

The Vegetable tanned leather

Our shoes are mainly made of OakLeather range of vegetable tanned leather. To define the OakLeather range we need to consider two ecological guidelines: the production process and the product itself. 

Tanning is a process that prevents leather from decaying, decomposing and oxidising. Usually the tanning process includes chrome and other hard metals but instead of these vegetable tanned leather is tanned with natural materials such as tree bark. Vegetable tanning process is significantly more environmentally friendly. 

In order to achieve an ecological product the raw materials (fresh Iberian hides) must be cold storage, without any other preserving agents, a chrome and metal free tannage (wet-white). Along with the use of metal free dye stuffs and water based finishes. All the OakLeather range is prepared to obtain the Chrome Free and Metal Free certification. 

We are working towards for a new and innovative materials. Step by step to more sustainable future.

 

 
 
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About the craftmanship

As a sustainable shoe brand we want to share our values with our customers and be more transparent in everything we do. Our production meets high quality of craftsmanship and all our components are hand-picked personally by Terhi.

All of our leather shoes are handmade in Portugal. The artisans have years of experience and they are committed to the high quality of craftsmanship. 

Meet Carla and Jorge

Carla works at the stitching section in the factory. Jorge lasts the uppers and attaches the outsoles. They both have been working for the brand several years now.

 

 

FACTORY VISITS AND COOPERATION

Terhi has worked with numerous shoe factories in her career but once she chose the current partner for her brand she first visited Portugal in 2011 to meet the owner and to check the working conditions of the employees. The most important thing was to find the best manufacturer for women's leather shoe category and to ensure the high quality of craftsmanship. The key factor was also to ensure the high standard of skills to implement Terhi's vision and designs to actual products.

The cooperation with the rain boot factory started in 2019. The Slovakian manufacturer has EN ISO 9001 quality management certification and 14001 environmental management certification. Environmental issues were an important factor when expanding our product category. 

Over the years Terhi has built a special relationship with the manufacturers. She also works directly with them without agents to keep open conversation and transparency in her manufacture process.

Terhi visits the factories regularly ensuring high quality of products and working conditions.