The leather industry cannot be held in any way responsible for fires in the Amazon rainforest, and for two reasons. First of all, because leather is only a by-product of zootechny. And second, because – at this very moment of the market – nobody in Brazil would benefit economically by setting fire to a rainforest to produce a material whose market demand is contracting. It is up to Leather UK, representing the British tanning industry, to respond to an article appeared on The Guardian where it is suggested that the lust for leather in the fashion chain is the “instigator” of Amazonian fires.
The focus of The Guardian
Signed by Lucy Siegle (“ethical living” expert), the in-depth study (published on August 29th) claims with its title (“How the love of fashion for leather feeds fires in the Amazon”) the causal link between fires and tanning. The summary of the piece, then, is transformed into an exhortation to the reader: “Our demand for footwear, bags and belts leads to the destruction of the rainforest. It’s time for the consumer to wake up”.
Leather UK’s answer
Leather UK responds to The Guardian by bickering on Twitter and with a letter from the ILM columns. “No one can be indifferent to the fires that are burning the Amazon rainforest – explains Kerry Senior, director of the British association -, but the suggestion that they may be motivated by leather production is a grotesque distortion of the facts”. The first rectification is the classic one, it can now be said: Leather UK reaffirms the nature of by-product leather of zootechny supply chain. A by-product from which, moreover, “farmers do not receive any economic return”, while herds are breed for meat and milk.
Screenshot from website Leather UK