23 May 2024

Rethink required on leather

LHCA Vice President Kevin Lattner

“Obscenely overestimated”: L&HCA says brands that have reduced their use of leather because of false perceptions about its climate impact need to rethink their positions. Published by Leatherbiz.

The Leather and Hide Council of America (L&HCA) has said at an influential event in London that many finished product brands need to change their thinking about leather. Brands that have decreased their use of leather or stopped using the material entirely after seeing false claims about carbon footprint need to think again, the organisation has said.

At the Sustainability Week Summit run by business publication The Economist in London in March, L&HCA revealed that calculations that brands might have seen for the climate impact of leather have been “obscenely over-estimated”. It said that a new study on the environmental impact of cow hide production in the US will show that figures included in the Higg Materials Sustainability Index (MSI) over-estimate leather’s climate impact many times over.

Sisecam Silver 23/24

MSI is a tool that the Sustainable Apparel Coalition (now called Cascale) launched in 2012. It has been used extensively by fashion companies to make and to justify decisions on which materials to use to make their products. The International Council of Tanners said in 2020 that manufacturers were “deselecting leather in favour of fossil fuel-derived, unsustainable synthetic products” on the basis of the unfair score the MSI gives leather.

Huni bronze 2024-5

At the London event, L&HCA said it had funded a new, independent study into the carbon footprint of making leather from US cow hides, focusing on wet blue produced in the US from US hides and shipped to Latin America or Asia to be made into finished leather. It was conducted, using lifecycle assessment (LCA) methodology, by Dr Greg Thoma, director of agricultural modelling and lifecycle assessment at Colorado State University. It took into account water use, eutrophication, greenhouse gas emissions, toxicity to humans, ozone depletion and the impact of chemicals on land and water.

To read the rest of this informative report by Leatherbiz, click om Rethink required on leather.

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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.


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