Leather is one of the oldest materials used by humans, and is extremely durable and biodegradable. It receives criticism due to the potential risks relating to the tanning process that can harm waterways and tannery workers. Latest research from the Leather Working Group based on publicly available USDA data shows that traditional (cow) leather is indeed a by-product of meat and dairy production. Animal hides would end up in landfills if not for leather production, making leather a circular material.
Piper & Skye ensures the use of sustainable leathers via strict materials selection criteria and ongoing research for improvement and innovation. Our no-chromium tanning and water-based glue are some features we are proud of. In 2022 an LCA of Pirarucu was initiated with our partners at Chester Energy: the first industry attempt to measure the carbon emissions associated with Pirarucu leather.
Please see our baseline report for updates on the modeling analysis and related milestones.
Model the carbon emissions associated with pirarucu leather, which has never been done before.
Demonstrate the CO2 emissions for each Piper & Skye product that is made of Pirarucu.
Determine new strategies in order to mitigate Piper & Skye's company carbon footprint.
Milestone 1: Carbon Modelling of Pirarucu
Status = Complete
This step engaged by Piper & Skye was to establish a first-of-its-kind study and modelling of the emissions profile of pirarucu leather. This involved quantifying the actual carbon emissions of Piper & Skye’s pirarucu leather, using the best information available to estimate the impact of each potential material.
How is this being accomplished?
As such, the starting point was to use the published data and studies on bovine leather to build a customizable model for estimating the carbon footprint of bovine leather.
Then a mirror model was built for pirarucu leather making process with inputs to reflect the characteristics of sustainably farmed pirarucu.
What are the early results?
The emissions profile to generate a single square meter of bovine leather were determined to be 671.78 kg CO2e overall, whereas, for pirarucu leather, the final value was 53.96 kg CO2e per square meter. Thus, the ultimate emissions impact was 12 times lower for pirarucu leather than bovine leather.
Milestone 2: Carbon Emissions by Product
Status = In Progress
Beginning October 2022
In this stage, we would look at the ultimate emissions profile of the actual Piper & Skye handbag that our customer buys, so it’s more tangible and real to them. This will require an investigation into the manufacturing processes by Piper & Skye, which is set to kick off shortly, by Oct’22.