Reacting to the article written by Vogue journalist Rachel Cernansky, which links leather to deforestation in the Amazon and large-scale loss of biodiversity, Gustavo Gonzalez-Quijano, Secretary General, Cotance, said he was “appalled by the deceptive information given on leather”. In the article, “the author accuses leather of driving deforestation as a result of being one of the most profitable products of the livestock sector. Obviously, apart from not being a good journalist, as a good journalist checks sources and tries to collect opinions from all sides, this person knows nothing about the leather industry”, said Gonzalez-Quijano. He then goes on to explain that leather is a by-product of the meat industry and how the animals are destined for human consumption; they are not sacrificed for their hides and skins.

“Moreover, the hide or skin of bovine, ovine or caprine animals constitute a tiny fraction of the value of the animal. At EU level in the context of the PEF (Product Environmental Footprint) initiative, cattle hides are allocated 0.51 of the animals (allocation ratio), while sheep and goats get an allocation ratio of 0.11, and pigs even 0”, he said. “There is no causal link between leather and deforestation, even when leather is made with the hides or skins of livestock produced in deforested areas”, added Gonzalez-Quijano. “Leather making is probably the oldest product of the circular economy and it is sad to see that its image is being so easily destroyed by bad journalism in an influential magazine.”

The article, titled “Fashion’s biodiversity problem”, was published by Vogue Business on November 27. It lists leather among the most damaging materials that contribute to deforestation in precious ecosystems and claims leather is “one of the most profitable products of the livestock industry” which “uses about 80% of agricultural lands globally”. As published by ILM, other industry bodies have reacted to the Business Vogue article. Read more here.