Manufacturers call them “vegan alternatives” and sell them as “bio-based” generally. The same manufacturers though offer few elements allowing a clear understanding of the real composition of the materials. They don’t clear say what the vegetable matrix is (as it’s pretty much plastic/synthetic), when it comes to their textiles, even while selling them as “super-sustainable”. The question is answered by the research “al Circularity: A Novel Method for Biobased Carbon Quantification of Leather, Artificial Leather, and Trendy Alternatives”. They study was recently published by MDPI – Coating Journals, and created by the academics of Università di Firenze and researchers of CNR-INO and LENS, coordinated by Ars Tinctoria.
The truth behind vegan alternatives
The research began in 2018 and was slowed down by Covid in 2020, to then accelerate once again after restrictions were lifted. As mentioned in the last few months Gustavo Defeo, CEO of Ars Tinctoria, the study analyzed the carbon impact of bio-based vegan materials via carbon-measuring machinery (leather, synthetic alternatives and vegan alternatives) to see the composition. The range of results further confirmed the previous research conducted by the FILK Institute in 2021, which recognized that real leather is admittedly superior to those claimed by vegan alternatives. While vegetable-tanned leather presents a quota of biological materials near 100%, some alternatives stop at 25%: meaning that they are 75% synthetic.
Clock here to read the study studio
In photo on the right, Gustavo Defeo with the research team