Vegan leather, often presented as a sustainable alternative to traditional animal-derived leather, has gained popularity in recent years.
There’s no doubt that choosing vegan leather is a better option for animal welfare.
On the environmental impact side, the adoption of plant-based or synthetic materials can mitigate the environmental repercussions linked to animal agriculture and tanning processes. However, it is essential to understand that not all vegan leathers are on an equal footing in terms of environmental impact and that their sustainability credentials can be very different.
One common issue with most vegan leather is the use of petroleum-based materials in their production. Many synthetic leathers are made from polyurethane, a petroleum derivative, which raises concerns about the reliance on fossil fuels and the environmental consequences of their extraction and processing. Additionally, the manufacturing process of these materials may involve harmful chemicals, contributing to pollution and posing potential health risks.
Another factor to consider is the durability and lifespan of vegan leather products. Some types may degrade more quickly than traditional leather, leading to a higher frequency of replacements and, consequently, increased resource consumption. The disposal of synthetic materials, which are not biodegradable, further aggravates the environmental impact.
For these reasons, synthetic vegan leather is not among SANE’s approved materials.
Plant-based alternatives such as mushroom leather (mycelium), pineapple leather (Piñatex), or bio-based synthetic made from waste material use renewable materials, reducing the dependency on petrochemicals. These innovative materials have a much smaller environmental footprint, as they can be produced using fewer resources and less energy and therefore belong to SANE Approved Material List.
Copy partner: Sustain Your Style; Picture: Pixabay
Other sources: GoodOnYou. (2022). Vegan Leather Jackets. Retrieved from: https://goodonyou.eco/sustainable-vegan-leather-jackets/