On the occasion of COP26 which is the United Nations Climate Change Conference held in Glasgow from 31 October to 12 November, the leather industry joines together and publishes the Leather Manifesto. A document shared by the main leather associations around the world, including the Italian UNIC, which asks COP26 to give priority to natural materials in the battle for sustainability.
“Natural fibres, such as leather, cotton and wool, are part of the biogenic carbon cycle: as such, they have already been made up of carbon in the atmosphere for millennia – reads the Manifesto -. If produced in an ethically correct way, natural raw materials are an important substitute for fossil fuels leaving much less room for them to be extracted”. Moreover, at the end of their life cycle, “the natural materials produced correctly will biodegrade, limiting their impact and mitigating harmful emissions. Like microplastic pollution, often due to synthetic materials”.
The Manifesto’s subscribers point out that increasingly more often natural materials, such as leather, are discriminated by fashion and design for “a lack of understanding of the production process and its supply chain”. Or, in the worst case, for “the application of questionable scientific methods, due to incomplete, incomparable or obsolete life cycle assessments (LCA)”. To replace leather, “alternative materials” end up prevailing. These materials are often synthetic and therefore based on fossil fuels, which exploit this confusion thanks to statements “without any foundation on their own sustainability”. It is on this aspect that the signatories of the Manifesto, among others also the European federation COTANCE, the International Council of Tanners (ICT), the Leather and Hide Council of America (LHCA) and Leather Naturally are reaching out to the participants of COP26.
Leather organisations around the world are calling to recognise “the circular and climate-efficient nature of natural fibres”. Not just that, but also “the potential of these materials to reduce the climate impact of consumer products”. The invitation to governments is to always consider the environment effects of the entire production process. The leather supply chain is by its very nature sustainable as it recovers the waste of another industry, livestock production. And it saves it from landfill and disposal, ennobling it through sustainable technologies and procecces, enriching it with value to the point of making it a luxury product.
COP26, explain associations, should promote durable products, which can be repaired rather than thrown away. Specific leather features, in short. All the proposals found space in the Leather Manifesto.
Below the Leather Manifesto and the list of signatories