As a material, leather has been with us for millennia and for good reason. It’s durable and protects and uses leftovers of the animal. In that sense, things are not much different today than they were thousands of years ago, when our ancestors hunted and gathered their food in a primordial world.
In modern times, however, leather has become a product and an industry. Like most, it’s been subjected to the same processes that guide the ways we live our lives in the modern age. Certainly, the ‘using the whole animal’ concept is not always present in current-day reality. Yet, we are also turning a page, writes GreenBiz, when it comes to sustainability in leather production. The leather industry is connected to food production and mostly uses cowhides, which are turned into leather through highly specialized tanning processes. Like many processing industries, it’s got little to do with the impact that inadvertently is ascribed to it. Topics like deforestation, pollution and bad practices are, however, often unjustly associated with leather more than with other industries.
By uniting in industry-wide initiatives, like the Textile Exchange, a fashion-oriented sustainability organization, it can make a difference. Together, this is exactly what’s happening. The Textile Exchange monitors and promotes better practices in the sector that are already leading leather producers to a better place. Many of the members of the Leather Working Group, already have achieved exceptional standards.
Next steps forward lie in waste-reduction, metal-free tanning processes and elevating the industry as a whole to a level of circularity. Supply-chain wide cooperation is opening up new potential.
Read the full article HERE.