Leather is one of the most widely traded commodities in the world. A dominant player in the world’s economy, it’s estimated global trade value is above $100 billion USD per year. In order to obtain ‘leather’ as a product, the hide has to undergo a process called “tanning”. During this process, the hide is treated in a way that permanently alters the protein structure of the skin—making it more durable and less susceptible to decomposition. Historically, the leather tanning industry was characterized by small or medium-size family businesses, but today the manufacturing of leather products has moved to places where labor is cheapest. As a result, the leather is often produced using toxic chemicals which include heavy metals like chromium salts which have a large negative impact on the planet and our health.
The good news is there are home furnishing companies actively working to change the structure of their business in order to reduce their carbon footprint. The Sustainable Furnishings Council (SFC) is a useful website to locate manufacturers, retailers and designers who are using environmentally sustainable practices. Sklar Furnishings is a proud member of SFC, and we’re very selective about carrying sustainable furniture and brands that benefit the local environment and the planet as a whole. One of the brands we’re proud to carry and that’s making a major change in the leather tanning process is Gamma.
Gamma sources all its leather from Dani—the first tannery in the world environmentally friendly enough to achieve Carbon Footprint certification. Its leather is free of chrome and heavy metals, and each square metre of leather produced releases a relatively low 10kg of CO2. From Gamma we carry the Splendido Sofa and Windsor Sofa —both available in sustainable leather.
SFC currently has over 400 members. Discover which other companies are making ‘reducing environmental impact’ a priority.