World Footwear


Industry reacts to Vogue Business article

Nov 29, 2019 European Union
Industry reacts to Vogue Business article
The article titled Fashion's biodiversity problem was published on platform Vogue Business. Several industry bodies arguee it conveys misleading information
Reacting to the article written by Rachel Cernansky for Vogue Business, which links leather to deforestation in the Amazon and large-scale loss of biodiversity, Gustavo Gonzalez-Quijano, General Secretary of COTANCE, the European Leather Association has no questions about the harm it caused. "I hope that the next article rectifies some of the damage caused to this humble yet societally important leather industry!", he started by commenting.

On his LinkedIn profile Gustavo continued with the statement: "#leather is the result of #recycling the hides or skins of animals sacrificed for the production of #meat for human consumption. No slaughter animal is killed for its hide or skin. It would be an economic mistake apart of being unethical. The determining products of animal breeding are milk, meat or wool. Moreover, the hide or skin of bovine, ovine or caprine animals constitute a tiny fraction of the value of the animal. At EU level in the context of the PEF (Product Environmental Footprint) initiative, cattle hides are allocated 0,51 of the animal (allocation ratio), while sheep and goatskins get an allocation ratio of 0,11, and pigskins even 0. How, in such a context, can, anyone pretend that leather drives deforestation?".

According to ILM, Egbert Dikkers, Chair of Leather Naturally, also rejected the claims made in the article: “Regretfully, the writer does not seem to care to give the full picture to Vogue Business readers. Leather is a by-product of the meat industry and there is no cow killed for leather. Deforestation as such cannot be connected to leather. As long as people worldwide eat meat, there will be hides and skins that can best be converted into long lasting, durable and repairable consumer products. The alternative would be largely landfill, causing a huge pile of waste. True sustainability is a continuous drive to do things better, including in the meat-and dairy industry. The leather industry is doing its part through leather manufacturers that increasingly manufacture leather according to auditing programs of which the Leather Working Group, CSCB and ICEC are the leading ones”, he concluded.

Leather has been in the centre of recent discussions about sustainability in the fashion industry and an argument used in favour of the usage of this material is the fact that this is a by-product of the food industry fitting in perfectly in the concept of circular economy.

Image credits: Casey Horner on Unsplash