THE Australian Hide Skin and Leather Exporters Association (AHSLEA) along with other international leather industry organisations, have called on the 2023 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP28) to recognise the positive impact of natural materials such as leather.
Building upon earlier communications to the COP meeting, the “Leather Manifesto” highlights to the delegates the capacity of leather and other natural materials to optimise resource utilisation while safeguarding the environment from depletion and harm.
The organisations wanted to highlight the positive impacts materials such as leather have on people, lives, and livelihoods and as a means of directly mitigating climate impact.
AHSLEA Executive Officer Dennis King said over the last four decades Australian leather processors have implemented a range of exciting sustainable initiatives to reduce leather’s carbon footprint including adopting cleaner tanning technologies and practices.
“An example is the significant lowering of the total dissolved solids discharged in the effluent through green processing and processing hides near the source, so they don’t need to be preserved for long,” he said.
“The result is an Australian tannery processing 20,000 tonnes of hides a year now saves more than 7,000 tonnes of salt compared to four decades ago.”
Australian leather processors are world leaders in drum technology, energy consumption, water usage, air and noise emissions, waste treatment, effluent treatment, and elimination of restricted substances on the Zero Discharge of Hazardous Chemicals (ZDHC) Manufacturing Restricted Substances List.
Mr King believes leather stands as an optimal choice for a sustainable future, promoting reuse and the principles of slow fashion.
The leather industry has reiterated its call for the implementation of suitable measures to assess environmental impact, such as Life Cycle Assessment (LCA), which thoroughly evaluates all aspects of material production.
This approach aims to encourage the development of durable products that can be used repeatedly, repaired, and refurbished.
COP 28 will take place in Dubai from 30 November until 12 December 2023.
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