At the same time we can recognize that the leather and leather using industries have a had a huge role in the last half century in providing jobs in emerging markets like Korea, Taiwan, India and China. But now that other materials are available, do we really need leather? While many in the industry would say yes, citing that it came from nature and will eventually biodegrade back to nature, leather is far from natural and neither sustainable nor environmentally responsible. The cherry picking of facts, addition of long out of date technology and straight lies to create a narrative against leather has become commonplace and fake news is a sensible term to apply. The Italian magazine for the tanning industry. At the end, deciding if real leather is a good investment is always up to the individual person, as for many people leather is the obvious choice while for others buying or using leather is unthinkable. “Vegan alternatives will often be more sustainable, with one exception: PVC,” Vanita explains. After all, it comes from nature (a cow) and most things that come from nature biodegrade back into nature at the end of their lives. In addition, the Sustainable Leather Foundation welcomes the opportunity to educate consumers about the positive and sustainable practices that exist in the leather industry. Over-consumption is taking its toll on our planet. O My Bag They can’t read minds! If it’s real croc (not croc-embossed), it’s likely to be more ethical than many other alternatives. By clicking Subscribe you are agreeing to receive promotions, offers and newsletters from EdizioniAF via email. Most leather advocates will claim that leather is natural and biodegradable while synthetic materials made from petroleum products are not. When the production of leather is made in a responsible manner, it means, in fact that is one of the most sustainable materials possible to work with, and this is the kind of leather Belcinto acquires to its products. But the "fast fashion" craze has swept up this once sustainable material in its path. These cookies will be stored in your browser only with your consent. The higher the number, the larger the environmental impact. When I first drove down the hill into Santa Croce the effluent plant was only starting to be built and Europe and the US was covered in town centre tanneries without any treatment plants. This chart doesn’t account for the years cows are alive and contributing to global warming. But if leather is unsustainable and you don’t care for petroleum-based products, there are still plenty of options. It is considered sustainable because the animals are not raised for the express purpose of using their leather for goods, they are primarily farm animals. During the course of this year Leather Naturally has increasingly fought head on against these false arguments and promoted leather as a sustainable material. The 10 Best Gifts for Outdoorsy Dads – Father’s Day Gift Guide 2020, What is Greenwashing? However, the skin used to make leather comes from animals raised for their meat. For starters, animal agriculture is a–if not the–leading cause of climate change. We will never share your data with any third party and you can unsubscribe at any time. This was even more hurtful when research proved that the figures for livestock were totally wrong. But that’s just data from the manufacturing process! As you can see, from “cradle to gate” (meaning from the extraction of raw materials to the point where the textile is ready to be assembled into an actual product), cow leather has an unequivocally larger negative impact than synthetic leather materials. As long as we face up to the realities of the sections of our industry that are misbehaving, and as long as we continuously strive to learn and improve, being open and transparent in all our activities then leather is unquestionably a sustainable material. * You will receive an email to confirm your subscription.By clicking subscribe you are agreeing to receive promotions, offers and newsletters from EdizioniAF via email. We source our leather from local Ethiopian providers who treat their animals with care and respect. PU doesn’t easily biodegrade (500 yrs+), conversely its lifespan in wear can be shorter than leather. Necessary cookies are absolutely essential for the website to function properly. But what is more eco-friendly, leather or vegan leather? There’s no doubt that nature’s resources are limited. But that’s far from the truth when it comes to leather. So we took a moment to reconsider what we have been saying and the terminology we use. Check out this post! The use of materials, water and power in the tannery has been greatly reduced. In that sense, leather is a very sustainable material. Furthermore these dreadful locations do untold harm to the “brand” leather by suggesting there is a general truth in many of the complaints and dreadful photos. It’s certainly better for the animals, but what about the impact on people and the planet? She loves her tiny house, vegan food and experiencing the community of travel in far away places. This is why now that Africa appears to be turning to leather making as a key element in development, as we can see in Ethiopia. Drop them a nice email letting them know you love their products, but would love to see more boots/jackets/bags/whatever (including those useless accents and dangly bits that are nothing more than decoration) available in animal-free versions. Or a decorative patch on a backpack. While there is no denying that the manufacturing of leather does have an environmental impact, it would also be difficult to deny the durability and lasting quality of leather. Leather will never be an animal-friendly product: It is made of dead animal skin. BLC’s team of leather specialists and technicians are experienced in meeting the requirements of local, national and global clients. Alisha is a freelance writer and photographer based in Austin, TX. This category only includes cookies that ensures basic functionalities and security features of the website. We also use third-party cookies that help us analyze and understand how you use this website. BLC provides a broad range of services to help deliver on sustainability for leather. Leather is one of those materials that when treated and preserved with care, can last through generations, and it never goes out of style. Constant updates for professionals in the field of footwear and leathergoods, Access the complete magazine library on edizioniaf.com, Register to access our free reports from our magazines. We cannot be expected to divulge detailed processes but we must be transparent about what is in the leather. Leather is increasingly being mass produced on the cheap and imported from all over the world. When the Worldwatch Institute calculated the emissions not only from livestock in methane and C02, but from farming their feed, forests cleared for livestock and their food (and the C02 those forests can no longer absorb), animal exhalations, and more, they found that livestock are responsible for 51% of global greenhouse emissions; more than planes, cars, industry and power plants combined. Terradrift & United By Blue Epic Holiday Giveaway! It seems there are many ways in which PU is less sustainable than leather. So let’s also take into account the impact factory farms have on the environment. Want more data? We create what people want and what the planet deserves. And there is an urgent need to recycle more and waste less. The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly. After all, it comes from nature (a cow) and most things that come from nature biodegrade back into nature at the end of their lives. This is recognized as of vital importance in sustainability as it avoids wasteful short-term use of resources. Here are some … Sustainability Spotlight: PrimaLoft Sustainable Synthetic Insulation. Kangaroo leather is a renewable natural resource that is sustainable over the long term. When one of our friends quietly asked us “is it?” we had to do some serious thinking. But animal skin has to be tanned or processed for it to be soft. Leather means dead animals. We believe that leather from these tanneries can legitimately be called sustainable. Is leather sustainable because it biodegrades? This means that both materials do not biodegrade easily, however since leather is produced from an organic material, it has a greater capacity to biodegrade at the end of product life. More sustainable leather and vegan substitutes Leather is used in many HUGO BOSS products – its special properties make it a classic in high-quality and fashion products. There is no precise scientific formula for us to apply to the leather industry that measures the difference between sustainable and non-sustainable so we have to use our judgement and keep updating our approach as things change. By clicking Subscribe you are agreeing to receive promotions, offers and newsletters from EdizioniAF via email. True vegan leather should contain no bovine hide, fur, skin, exotic skin, or any other animal-derived solvents, solutions, or fabrics. Out of these, the cookies that are categorized as necessary are stored on your browser as they are essential for the working of basic functionalities of the website. In fact most of what we used to call waste in the tannery is now a raw material for other products like gelatin or energy, and the water is cleaned and increasingly re-used. Any cookies that may not be particularly necessary for the website to function and is used specifically to collect user personal data via analytics, ads, other embedded contents are termed as non-necessary cookies. Through humane treatments of animals, new tanning processes and the humane treatment of those who work with leather goods, LUC8K leather goods are produced in a sustainable way. This all emphasizes the need for being open and straightforward with customers, and there were some complaints from the brands that tanneries were not clear about the chemicals being used and other items. Is vegan leather more sustainable? That’s often enough to turn some people off to the argument of ditching leather for ethical reasons, but hear us out: The factory farming industry, from which leather is a byproduct, is a cruel one. These are clearly not sustainable, and while fifty or sixty years ago we did not know the dangers of some chemicals or the real damage being done to the planet by intensive industrialization there is no excuse today. So leather is still not a sustainable or responsible choice if you’re calculating its impact before and after it becomes a boot or jacket. But opting out of some of these cookies may affect your browsing experience. This involves unsustainable … In fact we have sometimes said that it is one of the most sustainable materials available. Check out this post. And is leather sustainable? Natural Only a small proportion of the total kangaroo population is taken for the food industry, the leather is a recycled by-product that would otherwise end up as waste. Even if your designer shoes or watchband claim they’re “ethically sourced.”. The machinery involved to employ these people is not so capital intensive as in the tanning industry and training is simpler. One we can be proud to be involved in making. You also have the option to opt-out of these cookies. Mylo, otherwise known as mushroom leather, was debuted by start-up Bolt Threads in 2018, and is made from lab-grown mycelium, the root structure of fungi. Leather is animal hide that is cleaned of hair, treated (or ‘tanned’) to preserve it and then finished with a specific colour, embossing or feel. The workforce is treated correctly and given appropriate work wear and training. You may have noticed we make a lot of our products out of leather. Just do a quick google search! Choose your interests, hit Subscribe and never miss an article again. As in the factory farming industry. (This is also why transparency is so important for brands). Though sustainable leather definitely exists, the vast majority of leather products currently on the market are made cheaply and quickly. And if you’re committed to ditching leather but wish your favorite manufacturer would offer an alternative, let them know! For ages, leather has been the material of choice for sturdy, “natural,” durable gear that lasts. This is what Kind Leather promises, the sustainable leather launched last year by the Brazilian tanning giant JBS Couros after two years of research and practical tests. This unfortunately means that corners are often cut when tanning the leather, with most distributers using toxic chemicals that are not only carcinogenic but also harmful to the environment. Want to read more posts about sustainability and materials? When we started looking at carbon footprints a few years ago the most significant points that came to light was that synthetics were not given any loading from being based on fossil fuels whereas leather was given a huge one because it comes from livestock. Sure, some brands are striving to develop processes that reduce the number of harmful chemicals and water required, but that’s only half the issue (probably more like 1/4 the issue). It is often touted as being ethical, sustainable, and more environmentally friendly than animal-derived leather. Leather is not simply the wholesome skin of what was once a happy cow: it’s processed using buckets of toxic chemicals and copious amounts of water, neither of which are good for the environment. From its renewable raw material, through its manufacture, its versatility and longevity in use, and the fact that it provides so many jobs the manufacture of leather looks to be good for humanity and good for the planet. Most “vegan leather” is made of plastic, specifically polyurethane, PVC or polyester, all non-biodegradable materials made of fossil fuels. She’s also pretty sure she’s addicted to coffee. But what about after the garment has reached the end of its life? For information on how we process your personal information, please see our Privacy Policy.​. For those who have been in the industry for a long time the culture change in the industry from minimal compliance to taking leadership in CSR matters has been dramatic. There was a time when sustainable leather was an oxymoron but thanks to improvements in production methods throughout the supply chain it is now a reality. Yet somehow, animal leather is still being used in allegedly "sustainable" and "eco-friendly" collections – and this does the ethical fashion movement a big disservice. Is Leather Sustainable? Cows are mistreated, milked until their udders explode, torn away from their mothers to live their lives in crates, and crammed into overcrowded living quarters. Terradrift x United By Blue Epic Holiday Giveaway! by Mike Redwood – spokesman of Leather Naturally. In fact most of what we used to call waste in the tannery is now a raw material for other products like gelatin or energy, and the water is cleaned and increasingly re-used. So is leather sustainable and can we justify buying cheap leather to satisfy passing fashion trends? Leather Sustainability Services. We will never share your data with any third party and you can unsubscribe at any time. The same goes for leather garments, gloves or leather goods. There was a time when leather products were designed to last a lifetime. Slaughtering and processing is even more grisly, with many animals reportedly being skinned alive when dispatching methods aren’t effective. *You will receive an email to confirm your subscription. The comparison chart from the Higg Materials Sustainability Index below compares plant-based leather Piñatex (“Plant based materials” in the image) with cow leather and polyurethane synthetic leather and their respective footprints across multiple categories. One aspect of Leather Naturally is that honesty, transparency and an objective view of science that underpins our activities so promoting leather correctly is important for us. The 4 Best Hiking Sandals of 2020 – Adventure Sandals FTW! Still today there are significant pockets of tanning around the world where leather is processed without providing the work force with proper protective clothing or where the tannery waste streams are not being treated. In this video I talk about some of the sustainability myths of leather being "natural", and compare it to vegan polyurethane leather. PU is much more difficult to recycle and upcycle than leather, and burning PU waste can release harmful carbon monoxide. Is Leather Sustainable: The Environmental Impact of Leather Many in the leather, fashion, and outdoor industries claim that leather is not only sustainable but natural. The vast majority of tanners around the world now use proper equipment and waste management procedures to make good quality leather. Evidence today shows that livestock play a useful role in a balanced environment and we should not be on the defensive about this. Many in the leather, fashion, and outdoor industries claim that leather is not only sustainable but natural. The leather is vegetable tanned and the bags are made in the US.-The Breakdown-Products: currently 1 handbag and wallet style Great for: transparent and sustainable leather Conscious Highlights: traceable and certified, supports regenerative farming, vegetable tanned, made in USA Ordering: based in US, ships in the US. Like what you see? We believe that leather from these tanneries can legitimately be called sustainable. New Osprey Rook vs Osprey Atmos Backpack Review, Challenger K1 Kayak Review: Inflatable Kayak Review 2020, The Best Vegan Hiking Boots and Shoes of 2020. The definition most often used for sustainability comes from the Brundtland Commission in the 1980s: ’Sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.’. Rather than take on plastic’s environmental challenges, brands like Timberland and Nisolo say they’re focusing on cleaning up leather's impact. That tallies up to far more damage than the manufacturing of cowhide into leather, but must be considered as a whole (production and manufacture). Marketing leather as the sustainable choice. HUGO BOSS only uses selected types of leather and also seeks to develop replacement materials that meet our high demands for quality. Want a list of leather-free hiking boots? Demand for leather goods is growing – but so is criticism of its severe environmental impact, which is driving a keen interest in sustainable alternatives. Please explore the website and let us know how we can help you or your organisation demonstrate sustainable practices. Both leather and synthetic material undergo chemical processing in order to manufacture the material. Sustainable leather is leather that is a byproduct of local farming and agriculture industries. This website uses cookies to improve your experience. And the meat production industry is one of (if not the one) top contributors to harmful greenhouse gases on the planet according to the Worldwatch Institute. We should not be on the defensive about livestock. Some argue real leather is a beneficial by-product of livestock and more sustainable in this regard Raising animal livestock has indirect environmental issues to consider like deforestation, fertilizer use, pesticide use, greenhouse gas emissions from animals and other types of pollution You need your skin for survival, and so do the cows, pigs, goats, sheep, crocodiles, and … Leather’s Impact on Animals. But why? We consistently make the point that tanning needs to be responsibly done and fully accept that in the past the leather industry had many problems. However, 90% of leather is tanned using toxic chemicals, which essentially changes its structure and results in a material that biodegrades almost as slowly as synthetics (which means it will be in a landfill for hundreds of years in not more). For the animals, but what about after the garment has reached the end of its?., and the planet seeks to develop replacement materials that meet our high demands quality! That lasts reportedly being skinned alive when dispatching methods aren ’ t account for animals. S certainly better for the animals, but what is Greenwashing use third-party cookies that ensures functionalities. The sustainable leather definitely exists, the vast majority of tanners around the world your browsing experience coated items is! 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