Misinformation. It is because of this that some consumers avoid buying cars with leather interiors. The topic was discussed at AutoTech, in Detroit, during the meeting “Sustainability & the future of transportation”. It was inevitable to talk about leather interiors, often the focus of gratuitous attacks for marketing purposes spiced with greenwashing.
What leather really is
“Leather is the perfect recycling product. Unfortunately, many people don’t realise this,” says Steve Jeske, of Jeske Advisory Group. On the same wavelength is Fernando Caccia, CEO of Bader Leather, a company that supplies leather interiors to the automotive industry. “No animal is killed because of its leather”, he said. “The leather of animals slaughtered for food, we either throw it away or we turn it into a beautiful material”. Chemistry expert Rose Ryntz (president of Ryntz & Associates) goes so far as to say that leather “is the second life of a cow”. Ryntz fears that the competitiveness of leather with other materials for car interiors is not on sustainability, but on price.
Katie Kutskill is the technical director of the Sustainable Leather Foundation. According to her, it is important to assess the potential sustainability of each product “because consumers compare them”. During the discussion, it emerged how each car manufacturer applies its own sustainability standards, and this makes life difficult for suppliers, who instead seek consistent production processes. “And it increases production costs. If there were a common standard for everyone, that would be a great help,” Jeske explains. For Caccia, there is no doubt that leather is a sustainable product. And he presented those present with some pots made from leather scraps. Then he invited them to fill them with soil, put seeds in them and finally plant them in the ground. “They are completely biodegradable,” he pointed out.