3 January 2024

Unveiling the Truth: Leather’s Environmental Impact

As we navigate the complexities of sustainability, it’s crucial to base our choices on facts rather than myths. Let’s explore the often-misunderstood environmental impact of leather compared to synthetic alternatives.

The compelling image attached contrasts two scenarios: one where synthetic materials, like faux leather, lead to significant ecological damage, and another where sustainable leather use contributes to a healthier planet.

Here are some critical points to consider:

  • Leather as a By-Product: Leather is derived from the food industry, utilizing materials that would otherwise contribute to landfill waste. This practice significantly mitigates environmental risk.
  • Durability and Repairability: Leather boasts a remarkable lifespan of 30-50 years, outlasting synthetic imitations, which typically last only 2-5 years. This longevity means less frequent replacements and less waste.
  • Carbon Footprint: In production, leather emits 22.5kg of CO2e. In contrast, fake leather emits 15.8kg of CO2e. However, due to its shorter lifespan, synthetic leather requires up to 6x more replacements over time, culminating in a total CO2e contribution of at least 94.8 kg, compared to leather’s 22.5 kg.
  • Regulated Production: Leather production adheres to strict government regulations and international standards, ensuring environmental and social responsibility. Modern tanneries employ water-based technologies and sophisticated wastewater treatment systems.


These points, supported by Leather Naturally and the Leather Working Group, underscore leather’s position as a sustainable material. (Sources: Leather Naturally https://lnkd.in/edWHDaE4, @LWG https://lnkd.in/evYp9s5u Leather Working Group).


As we strive for a sustainable future, let’s challenge misconceptions and make informed choices. By choosing real leather, we support an industry that not only prioritizes longevity and eco-friendliness but also adheres to rigorous environmental standards.

About APLF

We bring leather, material and fashion businesses together: an opportunity to meet and greet face to face. We bring them from all parts of the world so that they can find fresh partners, discover new customers or suppliers and keep ahead of industry developments.


We organise a number of trade exhibitions which focus on fashion and lifestyle: sectors that are constantly in flux, so visitors and exhibitors alike need to be constantly aware both of the changes around them and those forecast for coming seasons.


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