Truths about Leather – 1st edition


Simona working to build a brighter future for this amazing natural material!

Here are some eye-opening statistics everyone needs to know

Global cattle population

USA does not have the biggest cattle population in the world. India and Brazil have the largest population of animals combining to make up over 55% of the global ruminant population (India – 30.52% and Brazil – 25.25%, respectively). China, the United States, and the European Union account for nearly 30% combined.

In 2020 the global consumption of beef was 71.14 tons

The United States is the largest consumer of beef in the world followed by China and Brazil. The United States accounted for roughly 21%, China 14%, Brazil 13.03% and Europe 12.85%.
With the rise in animal-free diets, and meat alternative protein, conventional wisdom would indicate meat consumption would be declining. However, the reality is that meat consumption continues to increase globally. According to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) global meet production has over quadruple since 1960; from 70 mil. tones to over 325 mil. tones annually. From 1990 to present day meat production has doubled. If this growth rate continues meat production could exceed 475 mil. tones by 2050.

Tanneries Provide a Major Service to the World

The leather industry provides a global service by upcycling the hides generated from the meat packing industry, and saving those hides from alternative means of disposal which generate more green house gases. Additionally tanneries employ, and provide economic support for millions of people all over the world”

Economical reason for raising cattle

The meat production industry is directly tied to demand of the food industry for animal protein. The primary source of revenue for meat packers and processors is the animal meat itself, accounting for 90% of the total monetary value of the animal.

After death the USDA evaluates each carcass based on the: quality grade of tenderness, juiciness and flavor, and the overall yield grade for the amount of usable lean meat on the carcass. The USDA does not grade, nor review the other byproducts of the animal, including but not limited for hides, tallow/fat, bones, hooves, organs, etc. These byproducts account for the remaining 10% of the animals monetary value, 5% (or 50% of the byproduct value) is attributed to the hide itself, depending on the hide-market evaluation.

Products made from cattle

People understand that animal hides are used to produce leather, but few understand the great value extracted from the remaining by products of an animal carcass. Each part of the animal adds value to different sectors and are used in a variety of consumer products.

The ecological value of leather vs discarding

Leather demand has not matched the same growth experienced in the food/meat sector. Because of this an estimated 55% of hides were upcycled into finished leather from 2019 through 2020, while 45% were disposed of. There are 4 primary sources of hide disposal: rendering, cremation, burial and land- fill. Rendering hides (processing them for collagen) offers an environmental solution but rendering all hides would result in a surplus of collagen and gelatine without means for consumption. Cremation (if the fumes are properly captured) and burying the hides (as long as they are buried away from water- ways) offer alternative options but would be wasting a natural resource. Although raw hides will biodegrade, if the hides are left in land-fill they emit high levels of CO2 into the atmosphere. Instead of disposing the hides, the most environmental, and best use of resources, is upcycling the raw hides into finished leather.

If go to the Waste

Generate 22.25kg of CO2

If go to the Tannery

Generate just 4.55kg of CO2

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