The most common problems caused by the production of leather are known to many people: Killing of animals, often terrible working conditions in production facilities, pollution and factory farming. What many people are not aware of, however, is that devastating fires in the Brazilian rainforest occur time and again. Thus, every day our chance to get climate change under control is dwindling.
Destruction of the rainforest
Not only calves suffer for the production of leather in Brazil: the rainforest is cleared by the leather industry. As early as 2009, Greenpeace drew attention to the huge destruction of the rainforest in its report “Slaughtering the Amazon”. There has been no improvement in the past 13 years. Cattle ranchers illegally clear rainforest to raise cattle for meat and leather production.
Opaque supply chains
The supply chains within leather production are not transparent. Fashion companies usually do not know which country or farm the animals come from. In September 2019, H&M became one of the first major fashion companies in the world to decide to stop sourcing leather from Brazil.
What we can do about it
For the sake of animals, people and the environment, we could start by buying fewer leather products. The range of alternative materials is now very wide – pineapple leather, apple leather, leaf leather, cactus leather or tobacco leather are just some of them. The range of alternative materials is now very wide – pineapple leather, apple leather, leaf leather, cactus leather or tobacco leather are just some of them.