Leather: why vegan?
Vegan leather is cruelty-free. No animals are hurt anywhere along the production process.
Compared to the leather production process, the production of vegan leather produces less harmful substances and less wastewater.
Leather is preserved using chemicals such as chromium sulphate, this process is also called leather tanning. The skin is then treated with tanning agents, greasing agents and colorant. Most leather comes from China, Brazil Argentina and India, where regulations are often lax and there is a lack of transparency. This raises questions such as where does the skin come from? In which conditions has it been produced, and what has been used to tan and dye the fabric?
We prefer not to be part of this system.
Some tanneries use up to 400.000 liters of water per day. A pair of leather shoes can use up to 3000 liters of water to produce.
The World Health Organisation predicts that by 2025, half the world population will live in an area with water shortages.
The other problem is water contamination. It is not unheard of that the water from leather tanneries ends up in rivers and lakes which people use to bathe, wash their clothes, and drink from (see the Bangladesh case study linked below). Globally, 2 billion people depend on water from unprotected wells, lakes, streams and river.
Currently our vegan leather is made of polyurethane. This material is strong, supple and durable.
Unfortunately polyurethane (PU) is a plastic and therefore not biodegradable. We are constantly working on improving our products and are thus experimenting with biodegradable alternatives such as cork, pineapple leather and waxed cotton. We have yet to find the ultimate combination of biodegradability, durability, strength and suppleness however.
Leather bad for the environment – Huff Post
Global Fashion Agenda Report
Higg Materials Sustainability Index
Case Study Bangladesh
Production of PU
Productie van leer buiten Europa – NRC (in Dutch)
Wees bewust waar je je leer koopt – NPO (in Dutch)
Duurzaam leer bestaat nog niet – OneWorld (in Dutch)
The True Cost (Netflix)
Genaaid – Watch this episode to find out what it’s really like in a leather tannery in Myanmar (in Dutch)
Honest and fair
Our vegan leather items are made in the workshop of Katis and her brother Sokun in Bangkok, Thailand. Our colleague Kaim has visited the workshop on multiple occasions and can attest to the fair, honest and safe working conditions.