4 October 2021

Leather Naturally and LHCA: "Volvo, you don't know what you're talking about" The leather experts respond to Volvo.

Against the Swedish automotive group, which recently announced the abandonment of the use of leather to pursue (with questionable method) sustainable goals LHCA (acronym of Leather and Hide Council of America) and Leather Naturally. Their declarations can be summarized as follows, writes La Conceria

“Dear Volvo, if you make your decisions on these assumptions, you will see that, when you talk about leather, you do not know what you are talking about”. If Swedes are really interested, as they claim to be, in organic, sustainable and recycled materials, they don’t need to explore whatever boundaries. Just give them the original article: “leather”.

The responses of LHCA and Leather Naturally

Volvo, as we have told you, has decided to stop using leather n because, in a nutshell, animal husbandry would be polluting and unreformable. The Swedish group, therefore, thinks of conditioning the breeders by sabotaging the tanning industry, which recovers and ennobles a waste product of those breeders.  Nonsense, as Stephen Sothman (president of LHCA) also states: “There is not a single farmer in the world who breeds cattle or sheep for the skin – he says -. Hides and skins are a by-product of meat and dairy production.  If not recycled in a tannery, rawhides will simply be discarded in landfills or incinerated.”

“You don’t know what you’re talking about”

Leather Naturally is also keen to point out that the very premise of Volvo’s reasoning, namely the unsustainability of animal husbandry, is fallacious.  According to the Swedes, meat is responsible for “14% of global greenhouse gas emissions attributable to human activities.”   The claim is misleading and demonstrates a certain ignorance about the methane cycle. 

Cows emit methane, a strong greenhouse gas – replies Leather Naturally – but this methane falls under the natural carbon cycle, where methane breaks down into carbon dioxide and water after about 12 years. The grass then absorbs CO2 through photosynthesis; the cows eat the grass and the cycle continues.” 

This is what Frank Mitloehner, professor at the University of California, explained in 2019 at the World Leather Congress in New York (organized by UNIC – Italian Tanneries) and then from the pages of this magazine. “In contrast, the carbon dioxide produced by fossil fuels remains in the atmosphere potentially for 1,000 years.” Animal husbandry, moreover, is not an immovable sector: “In some countries, it has more than halved greenhouse gas emissions since 2005 – conclude Leather Naturally. With investments in innovative practices and increasingly common technologies, the meat industry aims to become carbon neutral by 2030.” 

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