Raw material is fundamental in the fight against deforestation
Recycled raw material. Technically flawless. Lasting. Waterproof. There are several aspects that make leather footwear one of the most appreciated on an international scale. But there are other aspects that are equally relevant, which must be considered: Leather is fundamental in the fight against deforestation.
The environmental organization World Wildlife Fund (WWF) has studied the traceability along the leather value chain, while also signaling the key role that leather can play in the fight against deforestation. “Leather is an important by-product of animal husbandry with a rich history. Its durability and position as a luxury good make it a desirable material in many industries. The global increase in beef consumption means that hides will continue to exist on the market and, if not used, often go to waste, creating methane, which ends up in landfills”, summarized the WWF in the report ‘ The Role of Leather in the Fight Against Deforestation’.
According to the document, leather – which is entirely a by-product of the food industry – is one of the oldest forms of recycling, yet it has been “viewed negatively for the environmental impacts and animal welfare issues of leather production. cattle”.
Thus, the environmentalist organization tried to look at the real benefits of this raw material in a contextualized way, given the unexplored potential of the tanning industry to influence sustainable practices. According to the World Wildlife Fund, “the single most relevant action companies with a leather footprint can take is to commit to DCF (deforestation and free conversion) production,” supported by the Science Based Targets Initiative Forestry, Land, and Agriculture (SBTi FLAG).
The environmental organization argues that companies working with leather should promote close collaboration with the beef and dairy industries, even working with slaughterhouses and supply chains, thus promoting traceability throughout the leather value chain.
Using alternative tanning processes to reduce and eliminate the use of environmentally hazardous chemicals, establishing recycling programs and developing efforts to increase consumer awareness of leather’s sustainability potential can also allow the industry “further deepens the lasting sustainability of leather and ensures its environmental impact is minimal,” concludes the WWF.