With general practices, leather production is linked to significant environmental issues. From the extensive rearing of livestock which has severe environmental impacts such as deforestation, water and land overuse, and gas emissions, to physical health impacts on the workers within the industry and those around the factories and tanneries.
77% of all agricultural land around the world is used to raise animals for slaughter and grow feed for them. The rearing of cattle in Australia amounts to 54% of land degradation and habitat destruction.
80% of deforestation in the beloved Amazon Rainforest is also tied to agriculture, such as cattle farming for the meat and fashion industry and soy production to feed the animals.
Making Brazil the third largest bovine skin exporter globally following closely behind India and China.
It's estimated that one leather bag from Brazil is responsible for the equivalent of 1,000 square meters of cleared land.
According to a case study published in Energy Procedia, the carbon footprint of bovine leather ranges between 65 to 150 kg CO2 per square meter with on average 2 billion square meters of leather produced each year. That’s a devastating 130,000,000,000 - 300,000,000,000 kg of CO2 pumped into the atmosphere yearly.
Most leather is tanned with carcinogenic chemicals like chromium, formaldehyde, and arsenic, causing serious health problems for tannery workers, and other living creatures exposed to these chemicals due to water pollution and the likes.
According to Peta (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) More than 1.4 billion cows, sheep, and goats and millions of other animals are killed each year for leather.
Majority of all animal based leathers comes from India, China and Brazil which sadly have limited animal welfare laws currently in place.