Leather acronyms respond to Volvo. LHCA and Leather Naturally are raising their voices against the Swedish automotive group, which recently announced that it was abandoning the use of leather to pursue (with questionable methods) sustainable objectives. Their comments can be summed up as follows: “Dear Volvo, if you make your decisions based on these assumptions, it’s clear that, when talking about leather, you don’t know what you’re talking about. If the Swedes are really interested, as they claim, in organic, sustainable and recycled materials, they don’t need to explore any boundaries (or experiment with anything). All they need is the original article: leather”.
The response from LHCA and Leather Naturally
Volvo, as we told you, has decided to get rid of leather because, in a nutshell, animal husbandry would be polluting and un-reformable. The Swedish group therefore plans to influence breeders by sabotaging an industry, tanning, that recovers and ennobles a waste product of those breeders. Nonsense, as Stephen Sothman (president of LHCA) also states: “There is not a single breeder in the world who raises cattle or sheep for leather,” they say. “Leather is a by-product of meat and dairy production. If not recycled in the tannery, the raw hides will simply be discarded in landfills or incinerated”.
“You don’t know what you’re talking about”
Leather Naturally is also keen to point out that the very premise of Volvo’s argument, namely the non-sustainability of animal husbandry, is flawed. According to the Swedes, meat is responsible for “14% of global greenhouse gas emissions from human activities”. “The statement is misleading, and shows a certain ignorance about the methane cycle. Cows emit methane, a strong greenhouse gas,” Leather Naturally replies, “but this methane is part of the natural carbon cycle, where methane breaks down into carbon dioxide and water after about 12 years. Grass then absorbs the CO2 through photosynthesis, cows eat the grass, and the cycle continues”.
This is what Frank Mitloehner, a professor at the University of California, explained in 2019 at the World Leather Congress in New York (organised by UNIC – Italian Tanneries), and then from the pages of this magazine. “Instead, carbon dioxide produced by fossil fuels remains in the atmosphere for potentially 1,000 years”. The livestock industry, moreover, is not an immobile sector: “In some countries it has more than halved greenhouse gas emissions since 2005,” Leather Naturally concludes. “With investments in innovative practices and increasingly common technologies, the meat industry aims to become carbon neutral by 2030”.