Definition: This brand has sourced animal materials that are either traceable to farm level, third-party certified by an animal welfare standard or recycled in origin.
What qualifies for this guarantee?
- Any brand working with more responsibly sourced animal fibres. This means that the materials have been certified by a third party to meet animal welfare standards or the materials are fully traceable to a farm level to ensure animal welfare standards.
What supporting evidence do I need?
- Supplier and sourcing information
And either of the below:
- Leather Working Group Certification, Responsible Wool Standard or equivalent third party certification
- Details on the farm where the animal fibres are produced and written evidence of the farm’s operations and welfare standards they have in place
- If you use recycled animal materials please also select the 'Re/ Upcycled Materials' guarantee and submit the same evidence for both guarantees.
Why is this important?
Animal fibres are a highly controversial area of sustainable fashion and are highly dependent on the individual’s own morals and ethical standing. While there are many great vegan alternatives on the market, price and accessibility to these materials can make producing with these materials difficult.
With animal fibres becoming an increasing contentious area it is important to ensure any animal fibres used in your collection are certified
Leather is a very controversial material because of the reasons stated above and is increasingly coming under fire due to the increasing popularity of veganism and animal cruelty advocacy. Deciding whether or not to purchase leather is a personal ethical decision, and it is critical that if buying leather goods they should be made in an ethical and sustainable way, ensuring impeccable quality and that the item is made to last rather than seen as disposable.
What adds further complexity to the conundrum is that leather is a natural, biodegradable material whereas cheaper vegan alternatives such as PU are derived from fossil fuels and are of inferior quality thus having diminished longevity. Vegan alternatives are preferable from an animal welfare perspective but taking into consideration sustainability and durability means there’s no clear winner from an environmental perspective. As more bio-based alternatives are becoming commercially viable we are hopeful that we can transition to these alternatives.
If using leather, we recommend working to achieve this in tandem with Non-Toxic Dyes by using vegetable-tanned leather over chromium (see the Non-Toxic Dyes guide for further information)