The leather of animal origin is the most unsustainable garment.
The leather industry is not just cruel towards animals, it is also a major pollution cause and water waste.
More than 170,000 tons of Chromium wastes are discharged into the environment worldwide each year. Chromium is a highly toxic and carcinogenic substance and 80-90% of the world’s leather production uses chromium. Chrome tanning is used to stop the hides from decomposing. The remaining toxic water ends up in local rivers and landscapes.
The people who work in tanneries (including children in developing countries) are exposed to these chemicals and severe health issues may occur (kidney and liver damage, cancer, etc). According to Human Rights Watch, 90% of tannery employees die before the age of 50 and many of them die of cancer.
Another option would be vegetable tanning (ancient solution). Nevertheless, it is less common. Several groups are working on the implementation of better environmental practices to diminish the effect of chromium waste. Yet, up to 90% of the tanneries worldwide still use chromium and only 20% of the shoemakers use better technologies (according to LWG Leather Working Group). By the way, shoes are just a third of the leather industry. You may very well find some articles published in notorious fashion magazines where influential people state that leather is sustainable and practices are improving. The online stores selling exotic skin will mention they are ethical too.
Let the numbers decide.
According to the Pulse fashion Industry 2017 Report, the leather industry has a bigger impact on global warming and climate change (rate 159) than the production of polyester -44 and cotton -98). Synthetic leather has only a third of the environmental impact of cow leather.
The pro-leather arguments are dead.
Real leather is a slow fashion product. It lasts longer. But honestly, how many of you would wear the same jacket for 10 years or more? We live in the era of fast fashion, whether we like it or not. Try to convince one woman to have one bag for all the occasions for 10 years. Impossible. Allow her to buy something good, cruelty-free, and sustainable and it is a win-win situation for all.
Is faux leather the solution?
Answer: not all faux leather is the same but bio-based leather is by far the best option.
Post time: Feb-10-2022