Photos: Pedro Afonso with Fernando Bastos Pereira Model: Delvânio Pinto (Da Banda).
Belcinto has just won the SME EnterPRIZE award, on the first edition of the competition promoted by the Tranquilidade assurance firm. The leather goods company was the big national winner in the sustainability area, having the jury also ascribed two honourable mentions to Promecel and ALGAPlus.
The SME EnterPRIZE | European Sustainability Award for SME is an initiative of Tranquilidade and Grupo Generali, in partnership with the Correio da Manhã newspaper and the SÁBADO magazine, that aims to distinguish and give a voice to the most sustainable small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in Portugal, recognizing their merit and best practices.
“We want to encourage sustainable business models and give visibility to SMEs that develop good sustainability practices. We will create a space for inspiration, sharing ideas and public debate”, reads the website of the competition.
Belcinto: a matter of purpose
The history of Belcinto dates back to 1961 with a small production of leather goods directed to the national market. Today, the company exports almost its entire production, focusing especially on European countries and Japan. And sustainability is “a journey of no return”. For the brand, it is “a business prerequisite. Today, from a broader perspective, Belcinto seeks to bring together the people, products and environment vectors, and is proud of being a company with a purpose”, says the company from São João da Madeira in a statement.
The purpose is very comprehensive and starts with the products. “The company does not work with synthetics and the items are made to last a lifetime”, which is why it receives requests for repairs that are 30 or 40 years old and handles them free of charge, thus offering an unlimited guarantee.
Belcinto was the first company in the sector to obtain an environmental certification, therefore making a rigorous measurement of the environmental footprint and emissions generated. The reduction of energy and water consumption, as well as waste, are its main focus. This year, the company has managed to reduce energy consumption by 40% and changed the production process by investing in the substitution of materials for others more ecological.
But Belcinto’s concerns do not end here. People are one of the most important vectors for Ana Maria Vasconcelos, and inclusion and social responsibility policies are at the basis of the company.
Leather Goods by Belcinto
Based on its history and accumulated know-how, Belcinto launched the Leather Goods by Belcinto brand. “At Leather Goods, we set ourselves a serious, difficult but achievable goal: to produce only from the leftovers raw materials from other collections by reusing them and fully incorporating them, without generating new ones in the process”, revealed Belcinto’s manager.
“This forced us — she continued — to consider design rigorously, to invent new pieces and combinations that maintain the appeal to consumers, to take risks and challenge the team’s creativity, starting from an idea that is dear to us — to look at a piece in all its potential, fully satisfying the issues of functionality without ceasing to please and even surprise consumers, keeping us current, but without compromising on sustainability”. For the launch of the new brand, Belcinto faced “at long-stalled raw materials and accessories, as if looking longingly at a treasure, knowing their true worth”.
“We experimented, recombined, raised new hypotheses”, she revealed. “We look at waste as what it is — capital in potency waiting to be applied”. Ana Maria Vasconcelos advances that “the result is a profoundly original line, rooted in what we previously did. An unusual line powered with our know-how and history”. It is, moreover, “a work which amused us and made us feel that we were doing the right thing”. For Belcinto’s manager, “goods things come from the difficulties posed by the process, of the need to make do with what we have, of the determination to make last what we put on the market. We only need things that connect us and reinforce the sense and purpose of our lives and this company”.
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