“We see in some media reports in print and online, as well as in social media, a lot of misinformation about leather and the leather industry. There are false reports about cows being killed for their hides, which is untrue as it is a by-product of the meat industry. Leather Naturally considers it crucial that designers, brands, NGO’s and consumers form opinion about leather based on transparent and accurate facts,” explained Dikkers.

The audience attending the half-day conference, co-organised by ILM and BLC, was largely attended by brands, retailers and representatives covering the whole leather supply chain.

“You may also hear terms like mushroom leather, pineapple leather and other product names which use the term ‘leather’. But they are not, and only genuine leather can come from the hide or skin of an animal. In fact, the misuse or mislabelling of the term leather is illegal in some countries,” he said.

Dikkers said the following information is regularly mis-reported in the media about the leather industry which was largely untrue or ‘fake news’.

  • Cows are killed for leather
  • The leather industry is bad for people working in it
  • Leather is made with toxic chemicals
  • Leather can be made from mushrooms, pineapple, silicons etc.
  • Leather is not sustainable

However, he did concede that there are still some companies and parts of the world where the best welfare, social and environmental practices in the industry need improvement but he said that the clear majority of leather made in the world was produced sustainably and responsibly by tanners. “Leather is a natural, sustainable and versatile material,” he concluded.

About Leather Naturally

Leather Naturally is an industry stakeholder initiative that promotes the use of globally-manufactured sustainable leather and seeks to inspire and inform designers, creators, and consumers about its beauty, quality and versatility.

Leather is facing intense competition from synthetic materials manufactured from non-biodegradable petrochemical derivatives which are designed to imitate it. At the same time, leather is subject to attacks from pressure groups. The Leather Naturally initiative is aimed to counteract these attacks, highlight the natural beauty of leather and more importantly educate the buying public, designers and youth about leather and the leather industry.