Why do car manufacturers think that oil-based fabrics are more sustainable than leather?


Oil based plastics are no substitute for leather


One of the gravest errors that seems to be surfacing with electric vehicles and some hybrid types is the tendency to replace leather, an organic material, with oil-based plastics and synthetics, somehow conflating ‘vegan’ with ‘sustainable’. It is a misrepresentation of science and not only illogical but perverse when the stated objective is improved sustainability.


Properly made leather is one of the most sustainable materials the car companies could use. No one keeps or kills cattle to make leather, it is a by-product from the meat and dairy industry. Hides and skins are a renewable resource – perhaps one of the world’s oldest recycled materials. Modern leather factories, such as those making automotive leathers, produce an engineered product made with integrity, technology and craftsmanship. The plants are bright and modern, not unlike the most modern car facilities and they skilfully merge technology, craftsmanship and product design to engineer a long-lasting renewable product from a natural material.


It is a material that has become increasingly popular as an interior design resource in modern cities as well as a covering for smartphones and tablets precisely because as an organic, natural material it humanises an environment loaded with metal, glass and technology.


Buy less, buy better

All the evidence so far suggests that cars will be expected to work harder and last longer. Leather as a tactile, long lasting low maintenance material fits perfectly as a sustainable contemporary fabric which is totally relevant for the demands of this fast evolving world.


Note to editors

Leather Naturally promotes the use of globally-manufactured sustainable leather and seeks to inspire and inform designers, creators, and consumers about its beauty, quality and versatility. Its website is a key resource for information about modern leather manufacturing and the part it plays in a more sustainable society.


Media enquiries: Debbie Burton, Communication Team, info@leathernaturally.org