What is sure, if we want to be sustainable is that we can use what we have already before consuming any alternative keeping in mind that natural leather can last several lifetimes if properly treated. This chart doesn’t account for the years cows are alive and contributing to global warming. You also have the option to opt-out of these cookies. Want more data? 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. Even if your designer shoes or watchband claim they’re “ethically sourced.”. Just do a quick google search! But what about after the garment has reached the end of its life? Check out this post. 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. We will never share your data with any third party and you can unsubscribe at any time. We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish. Like what you see? Or a decorative patch on a backpack. 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. What is sustainable leather? Stay updated on news and Fairs and search the most important companies of chemicals and technology for tanneries. Because let’s not forget where leather comes from: cows. 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! Most of the people out there who argue against leather for ethical purposes are vegetarians or vegans like us. Sustainable designer Jourdan Norcose of Boyish Jeans, explains that designers should be wary about some forms of vegan leather that are more plastic-based. We cannot be expected to divulge detailed processes but we must be transparent about what is in the leather. That tallies up to far more damage than the manufacturing of cowhide into leather, but must be considered as a whole (production and manufacture). The vast majority of tanners around the world now use proper equipment and waste management procedures to make good quality leather. “Vegan alternatives will often be more sustainable, with one exception: PVC,” Vanita explains. 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. This category only includes cookies that ensures basic functionalities and security features of the website. 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. We are the people behind THE sustainable leather alternative. We create what people want and what the planet deserves. You need your skin for survival, and so do the cows, pigs, goats, sheep, crocodiles, and … But that’s just data from the manufacturing process! PU doesn’t easily biodegrade (500 yrs+), conversely its lifespan in wear can be shorter than leather. Here are some statics about the sustainability of leather: This chart from The Pulse of the Fashion Industry 2017 report produced by Global Fashion Agenda and Boston Consulting Group shows beyond doubt that leather is less sustainable and more resource-intensive than synthetic leather across 5 considerations (you may also notice that wool–here’s why you might want to avoid wool–and silk top synthetics for environmental unfriendliness). 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). 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. Get brand new content sent straight to your inbox. Many in the leather, fashion, and outdoor industries claim that leather is not only sustainable but natural. Terradrift & United By Blue Epic Holiday Giveaway! This is recognized as of vital importance in sustainability as it avoids wasteful short-term use of resources. But more about that in a minute. Frumat leather made from apple peel won the Green Carpet Challenge awards in Milan in September, and sustainable denim brand Boyish is planning to use it in its autumn/winter 2020 collection. Sustainability is becoming an increasingly important issue in the leather industry. So let’s also take into account the impact factory farms have on the environment. But animal skin has to be tanned or processed for it to be soft. We’ll break it down and take a look at why you might want to ditch leather. 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). Those days this feels like ancient history, with organisations such as the Leather Working Group being described as best in class by other industries. Modern, future-oriented leather production must bring economic interests, ecological soundness, and consumer benefit into line. With a few emotive images from a slaughterhouse then it is easy to see why our urban youth, used only to animals as pets, are easily swayed. 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. *You will receive an email to confirm your subscription. 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. *You will receive an email to confirm your subscription. For ages, leather has been the material of choice for sturdy, “natural,” durable gear that lasts. Rather than take on plastic’s environmental challenges, brands like Timberland and Nisolo say they’re focusing on cleaning up leather's impact. Kangaroo leather is a renewable natural resource that is sustainable over the long term. They can’t read minds! 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. The truth is, you can’t separate the leather industry from the factory farming industry: beef and leather are inseparable and unnecessarily cruel. The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly. The workforce is treated correctly and given appropriate work wear and training. According to the Higg Materials Sustainability Index, created by the Sustainable Apparel Coalition, leather from cows is nearly three times as harmful to … Leather means dead animals. Leather is one of those materials that when treated and preserved with care, can last through generations, and it never goes out of style. Sustainable leather is leather that is a byproduct of local farming and agriculture industries. In that sense, it uses a byproduct from another industry, so it doesn’t actually need additional land and resources. What is more with leather articles it is usually not the leather which goes wrong but the zips and threads, so unlike synthetics which peel and crumble, leather items can mostly be repaired, another huge benefit in avoiding using up resources. She loves her tiny house, vegan food and experiencing the community of travel in far away places. But not all “faux” leathers are created equal: some manufacturers are using more natural materials that biodegrade much quicker when they’ve reached the end of their useable lives. You may have noticed we make a lot of our products out of leather. Leather is increasingly being mass produced on the cheap and imported from all over the world. Why Synthetics are a More Responsible Alternative. The 10 Best Gifts for Outdoorsy Dads – Father’s Day Gift Guide 2020, What is Greenwashing? When it comes to vegan leather, we may automatically assume that it’s a more ethical option. The same goes for leather garments, gloves or leather goods. 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 4 Best Hiking Sandals of 2020 – Adventure Sandals FTW! 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. But why? As in the factory farming industry. But opting out of some of these cookies may affect your browsing experience. 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. Most “vegan leather” is made of plastic, specifically polyurethane, PVC or polyester, all non-biodegradable materials made of fossil fuels. Slaughtering and processing is even more grisly, with many animals reportedly being skinned alive when dispatching methods aren’t effective. This website uses cookies to improve your experience. There’s no doubt that nature’s resources are limited. It seems there are many ways in which PU is less sustainable than leather. 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. So is leather sustainable and can we justify buying cheap leather to satisfy passing fashion trends? We should not be on the defensive about livestock. 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 fact we have sometimes said that it is one of the most sustainable materials available. 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 this video I talk about some of the sustainability myths of leather being "natural", and compare it to vegan polyurethane leather. In that sense, leather is a very sustainable material. During the course of this year Leather Naturally has increasingly fought head on against these false arguments and promoted leather as a sustainable material. (This is also why transparency is so important for brands). 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. But the "fast fashion" craze has swept up this once sustainable material in its path. Some other potentially more eco friendly and sustainable forms of faux leather can include cork leather, or barkcloth, glazed cotton, waxed cotton, and paper. Leather is everywhere in the outdoor industry: boots, bags, climbing shoes, even decals and zipper pulls on backpacks and jackets. Want a list of leather-free hiking boots? Leather Sustainability Services. 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. For information on how we process your personal information, please see our Privacy Policy. PU is much more difficult to recycle and upcycle than leather, and burning PU waste can release harmful carbon monoxide. This highlights the need for continued improvement and analysis of our position as responsible producers. Choose your interests, hit Subscribe and never miss an article again. 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. By clicking Subscribe you are agreeing to receive promotions, offers and newsletters from EdizioniAF via email. 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. Want to read more posts about sustainability and materials? Sustainability is the fashion buzzword of 2019 – with designers and retailers everywhere pledging to do more to protect the planet. Many manufacturers are making leather-like textiles out of materials like cork, pineapple skins, mushrooms, and wheat (many are still in development), even rubber, that are even more sustainable than synthetic materials. Sustainable Leather. It comes from a renewable organic source and is produced safely without undue waste. Though sustainable leather definitely exists, the vast majority of leather products currently on the market are made cheaply and quickly. But how does it stack up against competitors and substitutes like synthetic materials and faux leather? She’s also pretty sure she’s addicted to coffee. It’s certainly better for the animals, but what about the impact on people and the planet? But if leather is unsustainable and you don’t care for petroleum-based products, there are still plenty of options. For starters, animal agriculture is a–if not the–leading cause of climate change. Rethinking our consumption patterns is as important as questioning the materials and the processes. One we can be proud to be involved in making. Alisha is a freelance writer and photographer based in Austin, TX. And if you’re committed to ditching leather but wish your favorite manufacturer would offer an alternative, let them know! This was even more hurtful when research proved that the figures for livestock were totally wrong. Is Leather Sustainable? Please explore the website and let us know how we can help you or your organisation demonstrate sustainable practices. 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. We believe that leather from these tanneries can legitimately be called sustainable. These cookies will be stored in your browser only with your consent. Another major benefit of leather, even heavily coated items, is that it usually lasts a long time – much longer than synthetics. Both leather and synthetic material undergo chemical processing in order to manufacture the material. With this in mind there were two qualifications attached to the definition by the Commission which said that pulling the disadvantaged out of poverty had to be the top priority and the future development of society remained vital, which both mean that society will have to make some compromises. And the Food and Agriculture Association of the United Nations (FAO) estimates that cattle make up 65% of livestock sector emissions. True vegan leather should contain no bovine hide, fur, skin, exotic skin, or any other animal-derived solvents, solutions, or fabrics. How sustainable is leather by myslowworld updated on December 24, 2020 December 23, 2020 Leave a Comment on How sustainable is leather Today I’d like to discuss the topic on how sustainable leather really is. It is mandatory to procure user consent prior to running these cookies on your 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. 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. 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. 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. We also use third-party cookies that help us analyze and understand how you use this website. * You will receive an email to confirm your subscription. 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 Even upcycled leather, the most sustainable form of leather, was still once a living being. * 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. Is vegan leather more sustainable? 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. 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. Over-consumption is taking its toll on our planet. 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. Check out this post! Leather is a biodegradable and extremely durable material, so you can use it over and over again for a very long time. A lot of leather is produced in China, India and Bangladesh. It is often touted as being ethical, sustainable, and more environmentally friendly than animal-derived leather. But what is more eco-friendly, leather or vegan leather? 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.’. Evidence today shows that livestock play a useful role in a balanced environment and we should not be on the defensive about this. And there is an urgent need to recycle more and waste less. We believe that leather from these tanneries can legitimately be called sustainable. O My Bag Marketing leather as the sustainable choice. 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. For information on how we process your personal information, please see our Privacy Policy.​. 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. By clicking Subscribe you are agreeing to receive promotions, offers and newsletters from EdizioniAF via email. This involves unsustainable … As a consumer it’s hard to trace exactly where exotic leather comes from, but as an industry in general, it’s more sustainable than cow leather. Leather’s Impact on Animals. So we took a moment to reconsider what we have been saying and the terminology we use. There’s no way around it. As we move through the tannery we can see at each stage from tanning, through dyeing and retanning and into finishing we employ more people to produce the same amount of leather, but when we get to footwear manufacture that number multiplies hugely. Here are some … Necessary cookies are absolutely essential for the website to function properly. 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. But now that other materials are available, do we really need leather? 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 Leather Working Group and the Textile Exchange are both developing protocols and standards for responsible leather production, which can facilitate brand’s looking for more sustainable and ethical leather. Check out our Sustainability Spotlight section! 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. It comes from a renewable organic source and is produced safely without undue waste. 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. 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. Demand for leather goods is growing – but so is criticism of its severe environmental impact, which is driving a keen interest in sustainable alternatives. We will never share your data with any third party and you can unsubscribe at any time. if cows were a country, they’d be the third-largest greenhouse gas emitter after China and the U.S. Food and Agriculture Association of the United Nations (FAO), leather-free hiking boots? BLC provides a broad range of services to help deliver on sustainability for 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. 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. Most leather advocates will claim that leather is natural and biodegradable while synthetic materials made from petroleum products are not. 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. For information on how we process your personal information, please see our Privacy Policy. 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. 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. Turns out, that's still up for debate. This website uses cookies to improve your experience while you navigate through the website. But let’s start with just the process of turning raw cowhide into leather for manufacturing? But the bottom line is this: whatever materials you choose, choose the best that you can from sustainable companies (maybe carbon-neutral outdoor brands), buy quality products that will last (and maybe offer lifetime warranties), repair your gear instead of replacing it, buy used instead of new, and donate or repurpose it when it’s no longer useful. 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. HUGO BOSS only uses selected types of leather and also seeks to develop replacement materials that meet our high demands for quality. It is the number one cause of deforestation (and in case you forgot, forests absorb harmful C02 gases), and according to statistics from the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, if cows were a country, they’d be the third-largest greenhouse gas emitter after China and the U.S. Essentially, bio based faux leathers could be the eco friendly future of leather. 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. BLC’s team of leather specialists and technicians are experienced in meeting the requirements of local, national and global clients. Is leather sustainable because it biodegrades? The Italian magazine for the tanning industry. 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. 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. But that’s far from the truth when it comes to leather. In addition, the Sustainable Leather Foundation welcomes the opportunity to educate consumers about the positive and sustainable practices that exist in the leather industry. by Mike Redwood – spokesman of Leather Naturally. We will never share your data with any third party and you can unsubscribe at any time. Leather will never be an animal-friendly product: It is made of dead animal skin. Sustainability Spotlight: PrimaLoft Sustainable Synthetic Insulation. When one of our friends quietly asked us “is it?” we had to do some serious thinking. 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. The use of materials, water and power in the tannery has been greatly reduced. 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. If it’s real croc (not croc-embossed), it’s likely to be more ethical than many other alternatives. We source our leather from local Ethiopian providers who treat their animals with care and respect. 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. 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. Click here to subscribe to our newsletter! And is leather sustainable? The machinery involved to employ these people is not so capital intensive as in the tanning industry and training is simpler. Via Ippolito Nievo 33, 20145 Milan, Italy. There was a time when leather products were designed to last a lifetime. 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. The higher the number, the larger the environmental impact. These cookies do not store any personal information. However, the skin used to make leather comes from animals raised for their meat. Must bring economic interests, hit Subscribe and never miss an article again it usually lasts a long –. 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