29 October 2021
Leather Naturally, along with 28 other international leather industry organizations, today called on the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) to prioritize natural materials as a means of directly mitigating climate impact. The “Leather Manifesto” written by the organizations, challenges the COP26 to recognize the cyclical, climate efficient nature of natural fibers and their potential for a positive contribution to reducing the climate impacts of consumer products.
“Natural fibers,” states the Leather Manifesto, “are part of the biogenic carbon cycle and as such are comprised of carbon that has been in the atmosphere for a millennia. These readily available raw materials, when ethically and properly produced, are an important replacement for fossil fuels, reducing the need for its extraction and retaining more carbon in the earth.
Furthermore, at the end of life, properly produced natural materials will biodegrade, limiting their impact and mitigating harmful emissions, such as microplastic pollution, often associated with synthetic materials.”
The Manifesto further notes that natural materials, such as leather, are often dismissed through a lack of understanding of the manufacturing process and its supply chain, or through the application of questionable science generally in the form of incomplete and incomparable or outdated Life Cycle Assessments (LCAs). Alternative materials, often fossil fuel-based synthetic alternatives, use this confusion to make unsubstantiated claims about their sustainability.
“Leather is an upcycled materials that perfectly fits in a responsible and circular society” said Egbert Dikkers, Chair Leather Naturally. “The COP26 conference offers an excellent platform for global leaders to prioritize natural materials and reduce the dependency on fossil-fuel based synthetic materials” Dikkers added.