If governments and industries (including the fashion industry) are committed to fighting global warming, natural materials are their main ally. First and foremost, leather, which is sustainable and natural. In view of the 2023 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP 28), to be held in Dubai from 30 November to 12 December, the international tanning industry, ICT in the lead, presents the Leather Manifesto. The document is signed by 28 associations from all over the world, including UNIC – Italian Tanneries: “COP 28 recognises the positive impact of natural materials, such as leather, on the environment, people and society”.
Leather? Sustainable and natural
Especially in Europe, legislators are putting the fashion system in the crosshairs. “We welcome new policies and regulations in France and the Netherlands, as well as legislative proposals in the EU and the UK”, comments the Leather Manifesto. Which welcomes the process as a sign of the “growing recognition of the need for action to reduce the impact of fashion and textiles”. Here the primacy of leather is asserted. “In order to achieve the goal, there will be increased legal requirements for reparability, recoverability and circularity: these are all areas in which natural fibres, like leather, stand out”.
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The problem, the paper report, is that the fashion world is going in the opposite direction, without many realising the paradox. That is, in certain areas, we are witnessing the marginalisation of natural materials (including wool and silk, for example) in favour of synthetic fabrics. “There are huge volumes of unused raw hides and skins”, the document denounces. “We could turn them into sustainable leather, to be used instead of synthetic alternatives derived from fossil fuels”.