Each year, billions of animals are killed so that we can use their skins for clothing and accessories. Leather is not always the by-product of the food industry which means that many animals are being bred just for their skins and forced to live in horrifying conditions. We believe that this is cruel, unsanitary and completed outdated.
In some countries where animal welfare laws are virtually non-existent, some producers have been known to kill dogs and cats for their fur and leather. This makes it difficult to know where a leather product comes from unless you purchase from a brand with very transparent supply chains which is often hard to find.
There are so many high-tech, beautiful, sustainable, animal-friendly fabrics available now that are more durable than leather and there is no need for this cruelty to continue. We believe in a new kind of luxury – where you know exactly where your products come from and are assured that no being suffered to make you look good.
LESS ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT
Livestock production is a huge contributor of greenhouse gas emissions and leads to deforestation and water pollution from run-off from the feedlots. According to the WWF, around 17% of the Amazon forest has been lost in the last 50 years, mostly due to forest conversion for cattle ranching. Leather is often described as a by-product of the meat industry but that is not always the case. Our demand for leather has led to further deforestation, which is often done illegally. A 2009 Greenpeace study proved that ranches in the Amazon were illegally clearing rainforest and that the leather was going straight into the supply chain of major brands.
The production of leather is also extremely water intensive, requiring approximately 400 billion liters per year. For every ton of hide produced, approximately 20-80 cubic meters of chemically toxic, contaminated wastewater is unleashed into the environment.
We believe that the fabrics that Svala uses have far less environmental impact than leather. For instance, Piñatex® is a by-product of the pineapple harvest and no extra water, land or fertilizer are needed in the creation of the raw fabric. And the harvesting of cork has been shown to improve greenhouse gases as it enhances the cork oak tree’s ability to absorb carbon dioxide. For more info on the sustainability of our fabrics, you can learn more here.
The tanning of traditional leather uses very dangerous chemicals including chrome, lead and arsenic and is often outsourced to developing countries where environmental and worker standards are not as stringent. If not managed correctly, these substances can cause health problems for workers in tanneries causing severe skin and eye reactions, liver damage and reproductive problems. Also, if the chemicals are not disposed of correctly, they can get into the local water supply. This can have devastating consequences for soil erosion in the surrounding area as well as contribute to further health problems for the local communities.
While some brands use vegetable tanned metal free leather, this is not as widely used as it doesn’t produce as consistent or durable color. Approximately 80% of the world’s leather is tanned using chrome. Svala only uses fabrics that are from reputable companies that ensure worker safety and environmental policies are upheld to the most stringent European “REACH” standards.
Often people who have reservations about giving up leather claim that vegan fabrics are not as durable as leather. However, we have found our fabrics to be just as durable as traditional leather. Svala fabrics are extremely lightweight and high performance. Our Italian vegan leather and cork are water resistant, stain resistant and scratch proof. Piñatex® can be made water resistant and stain resistant with the application of Liquiproof Protector™, a natural non-toxic coating.