Is Alternative Leather the Future of the Fashion Industry?
The fashion industry accounts for as much as ten per cent of global carbon emissions, according to United Nations Environmental Programme—more than international flights and shipping combined. To achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 and limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius within that time, at COP26, the latest UN climate summit, signatories to the Fashion Industry Charter for Climate Action—including Burberry, H&M Group, Inditex, VF Corporation and Kering—upgraded their commitment, pledging to cut emissions by 50 per cent in the next ten years. “We have to do it; there is no choice unless we have already planned to head to Mars,” says Dr Gloria Lei Yao, the director of project development at The Hong Kong Research Institute of Textiles and Apparel Limited (HKRITA) and director of the Textile Bioengineering Informatics Society. “We should be realistic: it will be a challenge for everyone to survive on the planet if we don’t change.”
In the race to decarbonisation, one pivotal change to the supply chain is the sourcing of sustainable materials. In the luxury fashion market, there are numerous leather products—largely handbags and shoes. Leather’s carbon footprint is relatively huge because of the emissions associated with animal husbandry and the toxic chemicals used in the tanning process. Let’s face it: while brands may be shifting to organic cotton, upcycling, natural dyes and offsetting the emissions from fashion shows, they’re unlikely to ditch leather any time soon. For luxury brands such as Hermès, Prada and those in the Kering group, leather products account for about half of their sales; if the industry really wants to achieve its environmental impact goals, this would be the place to start.
Source Credit: This article originally appeared on Tatler Asia by Tatler Asia. Read the original article - https://www.tatlerasia.com/style/fashion/sustainable-alternative-leather-the-future-of-fashion-industry