Such is the paradox. In the same article, the New York Times first claims that luxury cars, on their transitional way towards electric models, require sustainable interiors to consider them green. Then, shortly after, they list leather amongst materials they deem as inappropriate for the task. In other words, the NYT shows they do not really know what leather is.
“If there is an electric engine under the vehicle’s bonnet – they wonder rhetorically – but interiors are upholstered with leather and plastic, can one consider that car as a green one?” The right answer is yes, by all means!
They do not know what leather is
By contrast, the New York daily newspaper leads readers to believe, in the focus they published on June 9th, that leather – along with wood, wool and the most traditional synthetic materials – must be considered, at this point, as a residual mark of the past industrial age, that is, unsuitable for the upcoming challenges of contemporary modernity.
While browsing the text, one can surmise that the New York Times is fascinated by the frontiers of research crossed by materials’ engineering. Yet, those who are into the topic get flabbergasted as soon as they read that luxury cars now require “recycled and sustainable materials”, whereas “on their research designers hold in higher regard even the simplest materials, such as glass, pottery, hemp and paper”. What about poor leather?
As usual, the columnist shows that he does not really know the peculiar qualities of the tanning product as he mixes up the concepts of innovation and usefulness. Due to ideological superstructures, they discard leather only because, among a number of in vogue proposals, it turns out to be old-fashioned since traditional. Yet, conversely, leather has already all the features green vehicles are looking for.
“In fact, it is a bio-based material that derives from the up-cycling of a by-product of the livestock and farming industry – remarked Steven Sothmann, president of LHCA, the association of US leather tanners and traders –. Vegan alternatives are just slightly more than plastic after green washing”. “Among all materials mentioned in the article as an alternative to leather – pointed out on LinkedIn Gustavo Gonzalez-Quijano, general secretary of Cotance – none of them is really sustainable. None of them keeps long its own aesthetic features, none of them derives from a renewable source, none of them can be recycled at the end of the car’s circle of life, none of them is easily biodegradable”.
- The leather of a Convertible Mercedes E-Class 300 doesn’t get warm in the sun