There is no doubt the current fashion business activity is creating negative impact on environment. The groundbreaking Pulse of the Fashion Industry report released last year by the nonprofit Global Fashion Agenda and The Boston Consulting Group found that three of the four most environmentally damaging materials are derived from animals which are leather, fur, wool, and cashmere. Below are quote from Peta.
According to the Worldwatch Institute, animal agriculture is responsible for at least 51 percent of global greenhouse-gas emissions.
And since most of the environmental impact—a whopping 93 percent, according to the luxury fashion conglomerate Kering—associated with leather occurs before skins are sent to tanneries, so-called “green” processing methods used to make vegetable-tanned and chrome-free leather are really just more greenwashing.
By contrast, polyurethane leather has less than half the impact on the environment as animal-derived leather. Just let that sink in for a second: Leather that comes from animals is more than twice as harmful to the environment as polyurethane, a plastic!
Another factor is the toxic chemicals needed to keep animal-derived materials from decaying. PETA’s affiliate PETA Germany investigated the billion-dollar leather industry in Bangladesh. Tannery workers, including children, were found to be performing hazardous tasks such as soaking hides in chemicals.
The unprotected workers stand barefoot in cancer-causing chemicals and use acids that can cause chronic skin diseases. An estimated 90 percent of these tannery workers will die before the age of 50.