Today’s consumer expresses their concern for the environment by the choices they make: what they eat and what they use. Yet, for some, it would appear that their choices are being fueled by sentiment rather than knowledge. Fortune asks: are the alternatives to genuine leather just a fad? Reports by One 4 Leather.
Major market players such as Tesla have taken firm stances on material choices, as mentioned in the article. Elon Musk wants to offer a full vegan car. But do we actually stop and think what that means precisely? Apparently, most of the time, we do not. While there are a variety of nature-based products available, containing cork, pineapple leaves, apple peel and numerous other substances, most of them have their own impact on the environment.
The majority of materials marketed as alternatives to genuine leather are made from plastic-based polyvinyl chloride—PVC—and polyurethane referred to as PU. There’s nothing new about these materials: they’ve been around for decades and their resourcing can hardly be called sustainable. This why natural-based materials like genuine leather are attractive. Genuinely sustainable materials are made with the latest green technologies and include state-of-the-art traceability systems, which may mean that when it comes to costs, consumers (and brands) often opt for affordable PVC and PU-based materials instead of more expensive materials.
Leather, in the meantime, is a sustainable choice that is readily available and, due to the globally increased demand for meat, can be available in abundance. The leather industry has worked hard to turn a new leaf on environmental responsibility in recent decades, creating unparalleled traceability in their supply chain. However, the lack of information on the origin of other materials is now becoming a major concern.
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