THE DARKER SIDE OF LEATHER
For centuries, leather has been and still is today synonymous with quality and durability. But confronted with globalization and more intensive production in China and India, leather is no longer a quality product. Neither is it a harmless product. Animal cruelty aside, it is still the cause of too much damage to the environment and to humans in producer countries, Asia in particular. Dubious traceability and quality, pollution, toxicity... the leather industry is quite grim in reality.
Almost 90% of the leather used around the world is produced by chrome tanning, a heavy chemical treatment often carried out in precarious conditions with severe consequences for the tanners’ health. The toxic wastes are released in nature, pollute aquatic environments and human living spaces. This is the case in Kanpur on the banks of the Ganges River, where 400 tanneries produce half of all the leather exported to Europe.