Bio Market Insights spoke with Thomas Heinen, from Heinen leather, about the leather industry shifting towards more sustainable practices, innovation and reducing the carbon footprint. Heinen, CEO of the 130-year-old company, shares his views on leather as part of a global shift to environmental consciousness. Report by One4Leather.
In the interview, Heinen discussed the difficult topic of finding the right solutions for the future. As a vegetarian, Heinen believes that our meat consumption can be reduced. On the other hand, although he does not object to vegan alternatives, Heinen points out vegan materials require fossil resources instead of sustainable alternatives. Although both leather and vegan materials serve their purpose, there is no challenge to leather durability and sustainable qualities. There is a beauty to leather that is similar to wood: it ages with grace and goes on to serve you well.
Heinen believe the biggest challenge currently is getting the sustainability message of leather across to customers and end-consumers. The basic understanding of how much work goes into creating a product is missing, making it hard to see which is the better, more sustainable choice. The reason for a €2 t-shirt should not require explanation by a scientist; it should be obvious that this is not produced to high standards. However, product transparency is often missing, and Heinen explains this is required to go forward and is the reason the industry needs to keep telling the world that leather can be a ‘green’ product.