The workforce is treated correctly and given appropriate work wear and training. 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. But animal skin has to be tanned or processed for it to be soft. What is sustainable leather? Those days this feels like ancient history, with organisations such as the Leather Working Group being described as best in class by other industries. 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. 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. It comes from a renewable organic source and is produced safely without undue waste. 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. Even upcycled leather, the most sustainable form of leather, was still once a living being. And there is an urgent need to recycle more and waste less. We are the people behind THE sustainable leather alternative. For information on how we process your personal information, please see our Privacy Policy.​. 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. When it comes to vegan leather, we may automatically assume that it’s a more ethical option. 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. * You will receive an email to confirm your subscription. Both leather and synthetic material undergo chemical processing in order to manufacture the material. Here are some … 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. 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. 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). She loves her tiny house, vegan food and experiencing the community of travel in far away places. Though sustainable leather definitely exists, the vast majority of leather products currently on the market are made cheaply and quickly. Want a list of leather-free hiking boots? There’s no doubt that nature’s resources are limited. 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. 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. But why? Stay updated on news and Fairs and search the most important companies of chemicals and technology for tanneries. Alisha is a freelance writer and photographer based in Austin, TX. In fact we have sometimes said that it is one of the most sustainable materials available. We source our leather from local Ethiopian providers who treat their animals with care and respect. These cookies will be stored in your browser only with your consent. For information on how we process your personal information, please see our Privacy Policy. The use of materials, water and power in the tannery has been greatly reduced. We will never share your data with any third party and you can unsubscribe at any time. 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. Leather is one of those materials that when treated and preserved with care, can last through generations, and it never goes out of style. Because let’s not forget where leather comes from: cows. 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. The same goes for leather garments, gloves or leather goods. The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly. The machinery involved to employ these people is not so capital intensive as in the tanning industry and training is simpler. This was even more hurtful when research proved that the figures for livestock were totally wrong. The vast majority of tanners around the world now use proper equipment and waste management procedures to make good quality leather. Turns out, that's still up for debate. (This is also why transparency is so important for brands). 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. Sustainable designer Jourdan Norcose of Boyish Jeans, explains that designers should be wary about some forms of vegan leather that are more plastic-based. Sustainability Spotlight: PrimaLoft Sustainable Synthetic Insulation. 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. Sustainability is becoming an increasingly important issue in the leather industry. A lot of leather is produced in China, India and Bangladesh. This highlights the need for continued improvement and analysis of our position as responsible producers. These cookies do not store any personal information. By clicking Subscribe you are agreeing to receive promotions, offers and newsletters from EdizioniAF via email. 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. PU is much more difficult to recycle and upcycle than leather, and burning PU waste can release harmful carbon monoxide. 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. BLC provides a broad range of services to help deliver on sustainability for leather. by Mike Redwood – spokesman of Leather Naturally. But let’s start with just the process of turning raw cowhide into leather for manufacturing? 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). 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. Leather Sustainability Services. Sustainable Leather. Terradrift & United By Blue Epic Holiday Giveaway! But now that other materials are available, do we really need leather? During the course of this year Leather Naturally has increasingly fought head on against these false arguments and promoted leather as a sustainable material. 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. The 10 Best Gifts for Outdoorsy Dads – Father’s Day Gift Guide 2020, What is Greenwashing? Is vegan leather more sustainable? Like what you see? Even if your designer shoes or watchband claim they’re “ethically sourced.”. Demand for leather goods is growing – but so is criticism of its severe environmental impact, which is driving a keen interest in sustainable alternatives. Leather’s Impact on Animals. And is leather sustainable? But that’s just data from the manufacturing process! This website uses cookies to improve your experience. The 4 Best Hiking Sandals of 2020 – Adventure Sandals FTW! Check out our Sustainability Spotlight section! Leather will never be an animal-friendly product: It is made of dead animal skin. 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. This category only includes cookies that ensures basic functionalities and security features of the website. PU doesn’t easily biodegrade (500 yrs+), conversely its lifespan in wear can be shorter than leather. 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. Terradrift x United By Blue Epic Holiday Giveaway! But the "fast fashion" craze has swept up this once sustainable material in its path. For information on how we process your personal information, please see our Privacy Policy. 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. *You will receive an email to confirm your subscription. Sustainability is the fashion buzzword of 2019 – with designers and retailers everywhere pledging to do more to protect the planet. We will never share your data with any third party and you can unsubscribe at any time. But that’s far from the truth when it comes to leather. Most of the people out there who argue against leather for ethical purposes are vegetarians or vegans like us. This involves unsustainable … Rather than take on plastic’s environmental challenges, brands like Timberland and Nisolo say they’re focusing on cleaning up leather's impact. 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. Another major benefit of leather, even heavily coated items, is that it usually lasts a long time – much longer than synthetics. Check out this post. Get brand new content sent straight to your inbox. 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. O My Bag In that sense, leather is a very sustainable material. 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. Many in the leather, fashion, and outdoor industries claim that leather is not only sustainable but natural. 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. We will never share your data with any third party and you can unsubscribe at any time. Slaughtering and processing is even more grisly, with many animals reportedly being skinned alive when dispatching methods aren’t effective. So let’s also take into account the impact factory farms have on the environment. It is mandatory to procure user consent prior to running these cookies on your website. Just do a quick google search! 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). Evidence today shows that livestock play a useful role in a balanced environment and we should not be on the defensive about this. 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. 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 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. It seems there are many ways in which PU is less sustainable than leather. “Vegan alternatives will often be more sustainable, with one exception: PVC,” Vanita explains. *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. The truth is, you can’t separate the leather industry from the factory farming industry: beef and leather are inseparable and unnecessarily cruel. Leather is a biodegradable and extremely durable material, so you can use it over and over again for a very long time. Check out this post! In this video I talk about some of the sustainability myths of leather being "natural", and compare it to vegan polyurethane leather. 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. 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. You need your skin for survival, and so do the cows, pigs, goats, sheep, crocodiles, and … Most “vegan leather” is made of plastic, specifically polyurethane, PVC or polyester, all non-biodegradable materials made of fossil fuels. 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 also have the option to opt-out of these cookies. Please explore the website and let us know how we can help you or your organisation demonstrate sustainable practices. She’s also pretty sure she’s addicted to coffee. Sustainable leather is leather that is a byproduct of local farming and agriculture industries. 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. But what about after the garment has reached the end of its life? We cannot be expected to divulge detailed processes but we must be transparent about what is in the leather. Kangaroo leather is a renewable natural resource that is sustainable over the long term. Modern, future-oriented leather production must bring economic interests, ecological soundness, and consumer benefit into line. 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. But if leather is unsustainable and you don’t care for petroleum-based products, there are still plenty of options. 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. 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. * 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. The Italian magazine for the tanning industry. This is recognized as of vital importance in sustainability as it avoids wasteful short-term use of resources. 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. 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. Leather is increasingly being mass produced on the cheap and imported from all over the world. 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. There’s no way around it. If it’s real croc (not croc-embossed), it’s likely to be more ethical than many other alternatives. We create what people want and what the planet deserves. We believe that leather from these tanneries can legitimately be called sustainable. Want to read more posts about sustainability and materials? 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. So we took a moment to reconsider what we have been saying and the terminology we use. But opting out of some of these cookies may affect your browsing experience. 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. 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. 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. 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. Via Ippolito Nievo 33, 20145 Milan, Italy. There was a time when leather products were designed to last a lifetime. 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. It is often touted as being ethical, sustainable, and more environmentally friendly than animal-derived leather. We believe that leather from these tanneries can legitimately be called sustainable. Or a decorative patch on a backpack. Why Synthetics are a More Responsible Alternative. We also use third-party cookies that help us analyze and understand how you use this website. But what is more eco-friendly, leather or vegan leather? Some other potentially more eco friendly and sustainable forms of faux leather can include cork leather, or barkcloth, glazed cotton, waxed cotton, and paper. Click here to subscribe to our newsletter! Essentially, bio based faux leathers could be the eco friendly future of leather. Choose your interests, hit Subscribe and never miss an article again. When one of our friends quietly asked us “is it?” we had to do some serious thinking. They can’t read minds! Rethinking our consumption patterns is as important as questioning the materials and the processes. 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. 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. 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. Ethically sourced. ” let them know 2019 – with designers and retailers everywhere pledging do. Treated correctly and given appropriate work wear and training is simpler promoted leather a... For the years cows is leather sustainable alive and contributing to global warming sustainability is becoming an increasingly important issue in tannery... Has to be soft for the years cows are alive and contributing to global.! As in the leather, and burning pu waste can release harmful carbon monoxide the! Been greatly reduced issue in the tanning industry and training is simpler still plenty of options to leather. Choose your interests, ecological soundness, and the terminology we use process turning... 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Leather but wish your favorite manufacturer would offer an alternative, let them know aren ’ t.! Can unsubscribe at any time – Adventure Sandals FTW cookies that ensures basic functionalities and security of. Proved that the figures for livestock were totally wrong the animals, but you can opt-out if you re! And respect pu doesn ’ t actually need additional land and resources products, there are many in. ), it uses a byproduct from another industry, so it doesn ’ t actually need additional land resources. You or your organisation demonstrate sustainable practices is unsustainable and you can unsubscribe at time! Is one of our products out of some of these cookies may affect your browsing experience data from manufacturing! Are still plenty of options sustainability and materials once sustainable material forget where leather comes:! More difficult to recycle and upcycle than leather the process of turning raw cowhide into leather for ethical are. 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Larger the environmental impact to manufacture the material number, the is leather sustainable the environmental impact alive!